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A\ ; MASQUE OF POETS 





NAME SERIES 






PUBLISHERS ADVERTISEMENT. 



From the Boston Daily Advertiser. 

THE "NO NAME SERIES." 

"LEIGH HUNT, in his Indicator, has a pleasant chapter 
on the difficulty he encountered in seeking a suitable and fresh 
title for a collection of his miscellaneous writings. Messrs. 
Roberts Brothers have just overcome a similar difficulty in 
the simplest manner. In selecting "No NAME," they have 
selected the very best title possible for a series of Original 
American Novels and Tales, to be published Anonymously. 
These novels are to be written by eminent authors, and in 
each case the authorship of the work is to remain an inviolable 
secret. " No Name " describes the Series perfectly. No name 
will help the novel, or the story, to success. Its success will 
depend solely on the writer s ability to catch and retain the 
reader s interest. Several of the most distinguished writers 
of American fiction have agreed to contribute to the Series, 
the initial volume of which is noiu in press. Its appearance 
will certainly be awaited with curiosity." 



The plan thus happily foreshadowed will be immediately 
inaugurated by the publication of " MERCY PHILBRICK S 
CHOICE," from the pen of a well-known and successful writer 
of fiction. 

It is intended to include in the Series a volume of anonymous 
poems from famous hands, to be written especially for it. 

The " No Name Series " will be issued at convenient inter 
vals, in handsome library form, i6mo, cloth, price $1.00 each. 

ROBERTS BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS. 

BOSTON, Midsummer, 1876. 



THE "NO NAME SERIES." 

What is thought of the Initial Volume 
of the Series, 

"MERCY PHILBBICK S CHOICE." 

" Mercy Philbrick s Choice* reads rather like a record than a story. Its per 
sonages are few in number ; there is no sensation, almost no plot, yet it is highly 
interesting. In saying this, we indicate a remarkable story. The stage properties of 
a novel events, situations, surprises are cheap, and easy to come by. It is the 
higher art which discards these, and trusts for effect to truth and subtlety of character 
drawing." Boston Transcript. 

" A novel wholly out of the common course, both in plot and style. . . . The moral 
of the book is wholesome, that no good can come from deceit, and that the relations 
of life and innocent love should be frank and without concealment. Morbidness works 
onlv for misery, and it is the sane and sunny and sound people who get the best out of 
th.s life." Boston Daily Advertiser. 

" Mercy Philbrick s Choice is a story of great power, great depth of thought and 
feeling, great tenderness and reverence for the truth nlness of truth, and great insight 
into life. . . We dare place it alongside George Eliot s latest in point of poetic in 
sight, vigor, and knowledge of life, and to say that it is superior to Daniel Deronda 
in style, and informed by a purer and deeper philosophy." Charts D. Warner, in 
the Hartford Courant. 

" It is a pleasure, in these days, to get hold of a m-w American novel which mani 
fests both culture and literary skill. The author ot Mercy Philbrick s Choice is 
evidently a woman who looks upon authorship as something more than a pastime, 
a woman of clear intelligent tastes ard distinct aspirations. The refined quality of 
her intellect impresses itself upon the story from first to last." New York Tribune. 

"There are many things to be admired in this novel. The artistic delineation of 
character and the subtle rendering of the human atmosphere show a keen appreciation 
of the delicate shades which make personality and influence the life of ourselves and 
others." The Liberal Christian. 

" It is a striking and touching story, this new one, and will be greatly read and 
admired, as it deserves to be. There is even genius in some of its touches, which 
remind one of a feminine counterpart to Hawthorne. " Springfield Republican. 

" The volume is interspersed with some of the sweetest poems to which these latter 
days have given birth, showing that the author is a master of poesy as well as of fas 
cinating fiction." Hartford Post. 

" It is a story of the simplest motives, but as lovely and heart-holding as a sweet 
folk-song. Every page is endearingly true to the innermost part of humanity, and the 
author transcribes the workings of hearts and minds with no less faithfulness than she 
(we insist that it is a she ) gives exquisite pictures of nature and the handiwork 
which fashions in silence. The story is from the pen of a poet, and the inter-current 
verses are each and all gems of ray serene, not too flashing, but very, very appreciable 
to eyes which have learned how to weep." Boston Traveller. 

" Read the book, which is fascinating. The author is certainly a woman. And 
she is a poet, too, of no mean powers, as is proved by the half dozen short poems 
in the book. The sonnet engraved on Mercy s tombstone is not surpassed by any ot 
Wordsworth." Troy Whig. 

" This book is a novel only in the sense that George Eliot s books are novels. The 
story is subordinated to showing the inevitable working out of opposing moral forces. 
The characters, well drawn as some of them are, are hardly more than dial-pointers on 
the clock of fate. Of dramatic motive there is more than enough." The Unitarian 
Review- 

In one volume, IGrno. Cloth. Gilt and red-lettered. SI. 00. 

Our publications are to be had of Booksellers. When not to be 
found, send directly to 

ROBERTS BROTHERS, Publishers, Boston. 



NO NAME SERIES. 



A MASQUE OF POETS. 



NO NAME SERIES. 

"Is THE GENTLEMAN ANONYMOUS? Is HE A GREAT UNKNOWN?" 

DANIEL DERONDA. 



MASQUE OF POETS. 



INCLUDING 



GUY VERNON, A NOVELETTE IN VERSE. 



BOSTON: 
ROBERTS BROTHERS. 

1878. 



Copyright, 1878, 
BY ROBERTS BROTHERS. 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

ii. A SONG BEFORE SINGING. 



: 1 _ 



13. "IF ONLY WE HAD TlME TO SPARE "..... .j.. . 4 _ 

14. LALAGE 

15. AWAKENING. 

17. BENEDICAM DOMINO.., 

19. PROVENCAL LOVERS.... 

22. MY LADY S 

23. THROUGH A WINDOW PANE SO 

24. A MOOD OF CLEOPATRA .-J 

32. LOVE AND FATE 

33. CARPE DIEM .^. i;\ 

34. YOUTHFUL LoTX.^J^.^C^.^^.C^jSMM^^ N" 



36. SUNSET-SONG 

38. To ALMA 

41. THE PINE-TREE... 



M268561 



CONTENTS. 



42. HUSBAND AND WiFE^sAfcK&X^X*^^ 

0. . -*V -1*1 

45. THIS LIFE OF OURS 

47. QUESTION AND No 

48. QUATRAINS 

I. THE MONEY-SEEKER. 

v, 
50. ON APPLEDORE. ..-SrrT. 





52. JASPER OAKES... ..,^. 

58. STARLIGHT ^.:;?w.:<...^_^... ^ 

59. THE BUNCH OF WILD FLOWERS... \ . 
66. 

67. A 

68. DON T OVERDO IT. 

70. LOVE S DAY..... t 3T^V4i^..>...^ 

72. GARDEN-PERIL..X ^vJ fc -^V^^----XJM-"OAc^&b4D 

^*W v\- 

74. A WOMAN S DEATH WOUND.- 

J 

\\\ ex nl ^N cv A ul lr>^- 

75. A LOVERS TESTS.. ...\i.v.y..vAy.J|r..^.:.A^...N^_../^;^ T ....J....t 

f_\\ IV ^\. ^fl , k ii 

77. HER WORD 

...:..,..,.! 




79- 

83. WE TWAIN... ..... 



85. A FALLEN 

86. THE WANDERER 

~^O(/\JL IK *NT\K 

87. AT TWILIGHT ^ ..^..r:S^. J ....l.>L\. > ^A/^<^-^-*^"-" 

88. THE MARSHES OF 




CONTENTS. 



95. BALLAD OF THE WICKED NEPHEW 

99. THE ANGLER 

100. THE REBEL 

104. THE BRIDE OF 

114. FROM HERZEGOVINA 

119. RUNNING THE BLOCKADE.,. 

129. THE RHONE CRADLE. 




131. JOHN CARMAN.. .. 

135. A PREACHER..^ 

136. OCTOBER SUNDAY. 
138. THE UNSEEN PREA 

140. CHILDREN S SONG.. 

141. AMY MARGARET. 

142. " MY HEART, I CANNOT STILL IT 

143. THE ROBIN S 



.....:.; 

\ 

JS^JS&JuwJU. 

fcjr\tio- 

\f\KVl- \ s ^ * - * < ^\xt. C)rl JL 

145. THEOCRITUS \.H-^<^ R...\..&..+..s^^.SJ>G,M* 

\\ 

V. VlTTORIA COLONNA. 

VI. QUENTIN MATSYS BRIDE. 

153. RED TAPE \:..~,U :...... A 

154. I LOVE TO DINE .V...V.s....\^^/..>.....^jK.V^^^^^^^^/\^ 

155. THE BEAU OF THE TOWN 



147. MEDALLION HEADS.. . 
I. SASKIA. 

II. LA FORNARINA. 

III. FRAU 



CONTENTS. 




*57 

158. ELD 

159. HORIZON 

160. ONE HUND 

162. THE 

163. NOT LOST !?rf..-. .1... 

1 64. TRANSFIGURATION..^. V .l...^i.;^ 

167. IMMORTAL CLOUDS. .1.^ 

1 68. PILGRIMS.....&...I 

170. AVALLON ..^ 

174. SUCCESS .3^ 



175. GUY VERNON *; 









this to heart, O Poets of To-Day, 
And let it give you comfort on your way : 
A single verse may live as long, God please, 
As all of Shakespeare or Euripides. 



MASQUE OF POETS. 



A SONG BEFORE SINGING. 

ING ! sing of what ? The world is full of song 
And all the singing seems but echoed notes 
Of the great masters who, when souls were strong, 
Rolled sturdy paeans from rejoicing throats. 

Or worse than echoes, schemes of tinkling sound, 
The pilfered phrases of the melodist, 

A bastard music, a tenth Muse discrowned, 
A light bewildered in a blinding mist. 

I would not dabble on the brink of power, 
Shape airy nothings, dreaming of a dream, 

Chime word with word, and pipe to catch the hour, 
But plunge, aim-certain, in the living stream. 



12 A SONG BEFORE SINGING. 

Give me a theme to sing in man s behoof, 
As full of purpose as my faith, O God ! 

Red with our life-blood, firm in warp and woof, 
A homely product of the common sod. 

Or else, let silence and primeval night 

Reign, as God reigned within his holy dark, 

Eons on eons, till he called the light, 

And the first poet wakened with the lark. 



IF ONLY WE HAD TIME TO SPARE." 13 



"IF ONLY WE HAD TIME TO SPARE." 

TF only we had time to spare 

To taste the glories of the Spring, 
How good to leave this noise and glare, 
And breathe the blessed country air, 

And hear the songs the wild birds sing, 
If only we had time to spare ! 

Then you should stretch you at my feet 
And read aloud, and I should sew, 

And now and then our eyes might meet, 

And we might murmur phrases sweet 
And blissful hours would come and go 

If only we had time to spare ! 

But as you toil, and as I pray 

For happier and idler hours, 
Noon follows dawn, night follows day, 
I look, and lo, your locks are gray 

And Winter withers up our flowers 
Ere ever we have time to spare ! 



14 LA L AGE. 



LALAGE. 

T T 7HEN I have kissed the Rose upon the path 

And loved her, touch to touch and eye to eye, 
The joy I have of her I know she hath 
For every passer by 
What right have I ? 

Wakes in my heart the morning of thy speech, 

Sings in my soul the music of thy smile, 
And thou rt as far as Roses out of reach 

For in a little while 

Will they beguile 

Hearts, not my own, of other sorrowing 
Ah, and thy voice s music, sweet and low 
And gentle with all magic of the spring 

Shall touch them even so 

Do I not know ? 

I know it well, and yet in peace I part ! 

I know God made the Rose, and gave to thee, 
To help his whole wide world, the Rose s heart, 

Nor left thy bounty free 

To pluck by me. 



AWAKENING. 15 



AWAKENING. 

T T 7ELL I said, it is all too true 

* The story told to my childish ears, 

That tears were many and joys were few, 
And hopeless the weight of gathering years. 
I never believed a word of the tale, 
And turned to the sun and rejoiced in the day, 
But a blow struck home and the light grew pale 
Till bitter darkness beset the way. 
Oh, what is it all? (I pondered), what 
This terrible life wherein we are set 
Defenceless, whether we will or not ; 
Where the swift years weave us a golden net 
Of joys so sweet and of hopes so bright, 
Only to rob us day by day, 
Slowly to take from the eyes their sight, 
Steal all the body s senses away, 
And deal to the soul such blows of loss 
Through the hand of Death ? and there I ceased, 



1 6 AWAKENING. 



For a wave too bitter rolled across, 
And a longing never to be appeased 
Shook me with sorrow beyond all thought. 
Outside I heard the spring wind sigh, 
As if the pathos of life it caught, 
And strove to utter it, wandering by. 
When, in a moment, the door swung wide, 
Sunshine and flowers and songs of birds 
Swept in with you like a golden tide, 
Sweetness and rapture too deep for words. 
O Love, you brought to me youth and spring, 
Took me by storm with a glad surprise ; 
And set my whole soul worshipping, 
And saved my life with the look in your eyes ! 
And while you are left to me, no more 
Can my heart be dull as a senseless clod, 
While you hold me fast with those eyes so sure, 
Humbly I reach for the hand of God. 



BENEDICAM DOMINO. 1 7 



BENEDICAM DOMINO. 

r I ^HANK God for Life. Life is not sweet always, 

Hands may be heavy-laden, heart care-full, 
Unwelcome nights follow unwelcome days ; 
And dreams divine end in awakenings dull, 
Still it is life, and life is cause for praise. 
This ache, this restlessness, this quickening sting, 
Prove rne no torpid and inanimate thing, 
Prove me of Him who is of life the spring : 
I am alive, and that is beautiful. 

Thank God for Love; though Love may hurt and wound, 

Though set with sharpest thorns its rose may be ; 

Roses are not of winter, all attuned 

Must be the earth, filled with soft stir, and free 

And warm ere dawns the rose upon its tree. 

Fresh currents through my frozen pulses run, 

My heart has tasted summer, tasted sun ; 

And I can thank Thee, Lord, although not one 

Of all the many roses blooms for me. 



1 8 BENEDICAM DOMINO. 

Thank God for Death. Bright thing with dreary name ; 

We wrong with mournful flowers her pure still brow ; 

We heap her with reproaches and with blame : 

Her sweetness and her fitness disallow 

Questioning bitterly the why and how. 

But calmly mid our clamor and surmise 

She touches each in turn, and each grows wise, 

Taught by the light in her mysterious eyes, 

I shall be glad, and I am thankful now. 



PROVENQAL LOVERS. 



PROVENQAL LOVERS. 

AUCASSIN AND NlCOLETTE. 

WITHIN the garden of Beaucaire 
He met her by a secret stair ; - 
The night was centuries ago. 
Said Aucassin, " My love, my pet, 
These old confessors vex me so ! 
They threaten all the pains of hell 
Unless I give you up, ma belle ; " 
Said Aucassin to Nicolette. 

" Now, who should there in Heaven be 
To fill your place, ma tres-douce mie ? 
To reach that spot I little care ! 
There all the droning priests are met ; - 
All the old cripples, too, are there 
That unto shrines and altars cling 
To filch the Peter-pence we bring ; " 
Said Aucassin to Nicolette. 



20 PROVENQAL LOVERS. 

" There are the barefoot monks and friars 
With gowns well-tattered by the briers, 
The saints who lift their eyes and whine : 
I like them not, a starveling set ! 
Who d care with folk like these to dine ? 
The other road twere just as well 
That you and I should take, ma belle ! " 
Said Aucassin to Nicolette. 

" To Purgatory I would go 

With pleasant comrades whom we know, 

Fair scholars, minstrels, lusty knights 

Whose deeds the land will not forget, 

The captains of a hundred rights, 

True men of valor and degree : 

We 11 join that gallant company," 

Said Aucassin to Nicolette. 

" There, too, are jousts and joyance rare, 
And beauteous ladies debonair, 
The pretty dames, the merry brides 
W T ho with their wedded lords coquette 
And have a friend or two besides, 
And all in gold and trappings gay, 

With furs, and crests in vair and gray;" 

Said Aucassin to Nicolette. 



PROVENQAL LOVERS. 21 

" Sweet players on the cithern strings 
And they who roam the world like kings 
Are gathered there, so blithe and free ! 
Pardie ! I d join them now, my pet, 
If you went also, ma douce mie ! 
The joys of Heaven I d forego 
To have you with me there below," 
Said Aucassin to Nicolette. 




- 



22 MY LADY S VOICE. 



MY LADY S VOICE. 

"TV /TY lady dear hath so divine a voice 

That, when she speaks, all Nature must be mute, 
For in this low, soul-thrilling, delicate lute, 
Nature s most sweetest harmonies rejoice, 
The very birc^j are hushed, in happy choice. 
And- when she sings, the glorious Cherubim, 
And all the host of white-robed Seraphim, 
And all the holy Elders, midst Heaven s joys 
Rapt with an unknown peace, to list the strain 
Do cease their silvery harps, and kneel attent, 
Wondering now first to know God s smile in sound. 
E en the sad doomed forget th eternal pain, 
While, thro the gates of Paradise, out-bent, 
Heaven throngs to Earth, where bliss doth so abound. 



THROUGH A WINDOW PANE. 2 3 



THROUGH A WINDOW PANE. 
A WINTER MEMORY. 



T 



HAT bright December morning, 

Playfully, by the pane 
She lingered ; for ever blossom, 
Sweet morning, in heart and brain ! 



With arch farewell she lingered, 

Her face through the frost-bloom bright, 
Smiling ; like frost-bloom vanished 

That vision into the light ! 

For ever and ever, smiling, 

Through me it steals again : 
Within my soul the picture 

Looks through my heart, the pane ! 



24 A MOOD OF CLEOPATRA. 



A MOOD OF CLEOPATRA. 

Au temps de Cleopatre . . . . on eut fait venir six ou cinq esclaves, males 
ou femelles, et Pon aurait essaye le poison sur eux ; on aurait fait ce que 
les medecins appellent une experience in anima vili. 

Une douzaine de miserable* se seraient tordus comme des anguilles cou- 
pees en morceaux sur les beaux paves de porphyre et les mosai ques etince- 
lantes, devant la maitresse .... suivant de son regard veloute les dernieres 
crispations de leur agonie. Theophile Gantier. 



/CLEOPATRA, when the chilling fear 

Of ruin touched her soul at ease, 
When turbid sounds, blown overseas, 
Would speed on rumor s rapid path 
From the hot lips of Roman wrath 
Straight to her own Egyptian ear, 
Then, even at some grand feast of hers, 
Would seem to feel the joy struck dumb 
Of citherns, harps, and dulcimers, 
With rumbling prelude, harsh to hear, 
Of that which must in time become 
Disaster, slavery, Actium ! 



A MOOD OF CLEOPATKA. 25 

Then she, that mighty and mystic queen, 
Round whom her vassals crawled in awe, 
Whose lifted finger was a law, 
Whose smile an edict, and whose frown 
A darkness on the lands between 
Arabian wave and Libyan dust, 
Whose name, tyrannic and august, 
From marble-famed Syene s town 
On wings of wonderment flew down 
The old sacred Nile and serpentine, 
North to Canopus and the sea; 
Cleopatra, couched at feast, even she, 
Would quiver with a sudden sigh, 
And one imperious hand would raise, 
That bade the exultant music die, 
And made, along its mighty maze 
Of columned galleries, grandly high, 
A silence as of death to come 
On all the vast triclinium. 

" If I must die," her thought would say, 
" What way shall be the swiftest way ? 
What subtle drug shall give release 
With slightest pain before it slay, 



26 A MOOD OF CLEOPATRA. 

And make my conqueror find me here 

As one who thrids, in cavernous night, 

Some hypogeum s halls austere, 

Expecting when his steps shall cease 

Beside the uncrumbled cryptic peace 

Of still sarcophagi, and when 

He shall behold, with sharp delight, 

With thrills of greed he shall behold, 

The royal mummies lying rolled 

In lordliest wealth against his sight, 

Richly embalmed, these kings renowned, 

In naphtha and bitumen bound : 

But now he gains their bourne of sleep, 

And sees their gilded coffers rise, 

Stript of all wealth to clutch and keep, 

Plundered and spoiled ere this by those 

Who have dared, in violative wise, 

To assault with strong and impious blows 

The awful, slumbering Pharaohs : 

Thus even shall he that finds me here 

Find ruin of what I was alone, 

The dumb bulk left, the life outflown 

Beyond all shadow of shame and fear, 

Since death can do whatso he please 



A MOOD OF CLEOPATRA. 2J 

With whoso he shall choose to strive, 
But Roman hands, though quick to seize, 
Can never manacle alive, 
With wrist-gyve or with ankle-gyve, 
The daughter of the Ptolemies ! 

" Wherefore, if I must die one day, 
How fleetest shall this flesh get peace ? 
What way shall be the swiftest way ? 
What subtle drug shall give release 
With slightest pain before it slay ? " 

Then would she clap her small swart hands, 
And soon the obeisant slaves would bring 
Rare cups and goblets oddly wrought 
With sculptured shapes in circling bands, 
Or many a strange hieratic thing 
Whereof these latter times and lands 
Know either vaguely or know naught, 
With Athor, Isis, one-armed Kb em, 
Snake, scarab, ibis, winged ball, 
Quaint Coptic anaglyph ; and all 
These vessels, to the brims of them, 
With deadliest poisons had been fraught. 



28 A MOOD OF CLEOPATRA. 

Then slowly through the hall s great space, 
Where, statued in weird hybrid gloom, 
The mighty basalt sphinxes loom, 
With black claws crossed in cold repose ; 
Between the pillars huge of base 
That might bear heaven, if so they chose, 
On bulging chapiters that enthrone 
Colossal lotus-leaves of stone, 
Before the Queen, with timorous pace, 
With groundward brow and quivering limb, 
With horror on each haggard face, 
They come, the slaves that are to die 
Neath Cleopatra s critic eye, 
And pleasure thus her sovereign whim. 

They dare not make one lightest moan 

While ranging in a dreadful file 

Before their slayer s icy smile. 

They dare alone to cower and shrink ; 

Alone they dare obey ; alone 

To grasp their goblets and be dumb ; 

For tortures worse than death might come, 

Did they rebel in prayer and groan. 



A MOOD OF CLEOPATRA. 29 

Some sweat with anguish as they drink ; 
Some totter, and have bristling hair; 
Some choke their bitter sobs, and some 
Roll eyeballs awful with despair ! 

Poisons are here of taste and hue 
Most differing, yet all strong and fleet ; 
For here is Hellebore, Aconite, 
Henbane, and Hemlock ; Nightshade, too, 
Opium, Euphorbia ; these, and more 
Known only in the years of yore. 

And all are drunken to the lees 

By those poor minion lips accurst. 

A fearful quiet falls at first 

Over the doomed ones where they stand, 

Till now they sink, by sure degrees, 

Form after stricken form, beneath 

The smile so fathomlessly bland 

Of the calm Queen who hears and sees 

Their anguish of the stiff crooked hand, 

The writhen body and gnashing teeth, 

The blackening tongues, the crimsoned eyes, 

The foamy and bloated lips, the cries 



30 A MOOD OF CLEOPATRA. 

That up those monstrous galleries ring, 
In mad debauch of suffering ! 

Superb doth Cleopatra sit, 

The fragrant feast-flowers on her hair, 

And o er the shadowy waves of it 

Her crown, imperially fair 

For spikes of gold about the brows. 

The delicate schenti that allows 

Glimpses of her voluptuous shape, 

Doth her firm bend of bosom drape, 

And lightlier lies on her brown limbs 

Than on some moonlit mountain s base 

The gauziest vapor-wreath that swims. 

From either side her languorous face 

The fringy calisiris flows. 

A gorget girds her olive throat, 

Fantastic, beautiful to note, 

Where clear-green chrysoberyl glows 

Beside azedarac, in rows. 

One marvellous arm supports her head, 
With dull gold six times braceleted, 
As backward on the empurpled ease 



A MOOD OF CLEOPATRA. 3 1 

Of her Greek couch she leans at rest. 
Her deepening smile hath half confest 
That one thing yet holds power to please 
Her tired soul, pleasure-surfeited ; 
One thing : this riot of death she sees, 
This pomp of human pangs unblest, 
This revel of ghastly agonies ! 

And so while at her feet they writhe, 
While, levelled of their torture sore, 
They grovel on the porphyry floor, 
These slaves whose life is almost less 
In Egypt than to crush a gnat, 
Then (merciless change to wonder at !) 
Cleopatra s smile turns bright and blithe, 
Her eyelids lose their heaviness, 
Her long deep eyes begin to shine, 
And reaching one dark faultless hand 
Where the gold festal goblets stand, 
Carved by Lysippus rare finesse 
In sculptures worthy hands divine, 
For veriest joy her red mouth laughs 
As now, with back-flung head, she quaffs 
The odorous white Mareotic wine ! 



32 LOVE AND FATE. 



LOVE AND FATE. 



"\T 7RY Fate denies me joy, 

But Venus boy 

Still strings my heart-strings to his bow 
They thrill whene er his arrows go. 

O Fate, how can I view thee ? 

O Love, how still pursue thee ? 



II. 

Though Love, indeed, be master, 

Fate follows faster 
And snares us slyly from behind 
Ere yet Love s distant goal we find. 

O Fate, how can I view thee ? 

O Love, how still pursue thee ? 



CARPE DIEM. 33 



CARPE DIEM. 

/^VH ! to-day is too delicious, 

FilPd with little winds and birds 
And the far-off hum of herds, 
Come, let s put off cruel words 
This one time that Time s propitious. 

Oh ! to-day is too delicious. 
Just this one most perfect day, 
Let s forget while yet we may, 
Let s love sorrow quite away, 
Let to-morrow be malicious. 



34 YOUTHFUL LOVE. 



YOUTHFUL LOVE. 
I. 

"D EING absent, yet thou art not wholly gone, 

For thou hast stamped thine image on the world ; 
It shines before me in the blushing dawn, 
And sunset clouds around its grace are furled. 

* Hast thou not burdened every summer breeze 
With the remembered music of thy voice ? 
Sweeter than linnet s song in garden trees, 
And making wearisome all other joys. 
Sleep vainly strives to bar thee from his hall, 
Thou winn st light entrance in a dream s disguise, 
And there, with gentlest sway thou rulest all 
His gliding visions and quick phantasies. 
The busy day is thine ; the quiet night 
Sleeps in thy radiance, as these skies in light. 



YOUTHFUL LOVE. 35 



II. 

Or stooping toward me from the stainless sphere, 

And reaching dearest hands of comfort down, 

Thou guidest steps that falter on alone, 

Through darkened ways. Do I not feel thee near, 

And lightest whispers of thy spirit hear, 

Clearer than yonder sea s eternal moan ? 

And ah ! no breath of any mournful tone, 

But lessons of high courage, holy cheer, 

And such sweet notes as charm the snake Despair. 

Shall it not be so ? Doth poor Fancy err 

To hear thee speaking through the rosy air 

Of morn and eve, and when no cloud may stir 

In the calm noon ; or solemn Night and fair, 

Plies her grave task, and the stars wait on her ? 



36 SUNSET-SONG. 



SUNSET- SONG. 

I. 

the sun s departing smile, 
Sweetest maid ! 
Let us sit and rest a while 
In the shade. 

None can hear us, none can see, 
But the birdling in the tree, 
Sweetest maid ! 



II. 

Lay your soft white hand in mine, 

Lillie dear ! 

Let my arm your waist entwine, 

Do not fear 

For the birdling in the tree 

Would not tell of you and me, 

Lillie dear. 



SUNSET-SONG. 37 



III. 

While the sun hangs dim and red 
In the west, 

Come and lean your wondrous head 
On my breast. 
It is sweet, my Lillie dear, 
By your side while night draws near 
Thus to rest. 

IV. 

Hide, oh, hide those lips so fair 
From my view ! 
Oh, the madness but to dare 
If you knew ! 

But to see and not to dare, 
Sweet my love, that surely were 
Madness too. 

V. 

Lo, the weary day has fled, 
Dearest heart ! 

Through the dark crowns overhead 
Night-birds dart. 

Sleep the birdlings in their nest, 
Those who love each other best, 
Yet, Love, must part. 



38 TO ALMA. 



TO ALMA. 

I. 

\ N anxious whisper steals unto my ear, 

That thy young soul, so fresh and pure it be, 
Is alien unto mine ; that I in thee 
No resonance shall find for thoughts austere ; 
No glorious kinship in that loftier sphere 
Where spirits meet and recognize their own. 
And yet, beloved, from those depths unknown 
Those slumbering depths of silence which I fear 
With my rude touch to stir some shy sweet thought 
Comes upward trembling, like a coral bright, 
Which no bold eye its loveliness has taught, 
Through pale green waters flashing its warm light ! 
Yet, wert thou shallow, love, the heaven s wide sweep 
The shallow stream reflects, e en as the deep. 



TO ALMA. 39 



II. 

Thy gracious face I greet with glad surprise 

With each new day ; and yet thou saidst a fear 

Oft nestled at thy heart when I was near, 

Because I loved thee only with mine eyes. 

Thou wert not skilled in lore, nor deep, nor wise, 

But thou wert strong to love and warm and true. 

What could I answer, love ? Alas, I knew 

I love too well, perhaps, the radiant guise 

Through which thy spirit breathes its loveliness. 

Yes, darling, yes, I love thee as thou art, - 

Thy coy surrender to my bold caress ; 

When folded in my arms, I feel thy heart 

Beat gainst my breast ; and when my lips meet thine 

Thy very soul is wedded unto mine. 



III. 

Yes, my old self is dead ; and it is well ; 
I knew, as thou, he had no right to be ; 
And light his death was, for he knew not thee, 
And thrilling into life by some strange spell 



40 TO ALMA. 



I stood new-born and wondering ; nor could tell 

Aught of what had been. Through a mist outspread 

I saw the by-gone years lie cold and dead, 

And the bright future where with thee I dwell, 

A happy Delos rising from the sea. 

Dim seems my past and strange, and all the earth 

A pale and melancholy pageantry, 

Until the shining moment of thy birth. 

Thy life from out this age of toil and gloom 

Sprang, like a flower that blossoms on a tomb. 



THE PINE-TREE. 41 



THE PINE-TREE. 

THE TREE. 

T TPWARD and ever upward, 
^ While the storms pass me by, 
Up through the lightning flashes 
Longingly look I. 

THE FLOWER. 

Yet when the storm-wind bloweth, 

Gentle pine-tree ! 
Downward thine arms in protection 

Stretchest thou o er me. 

THE TREE. 

Upward and ever upward, 

While the sun rideth high, 

Fearing not his bold glances 
Longingly look I. 

THE FLOWER. 

Yet when the sun s glance is hottest, 

Gentle pine-tree ! 
Downward thy poor child to shelter 

Leanest thou to me. 



42 HUSBAND AND WIFE. 



HUSBAND AND WIFE. 

kiss me once before I go, 
" To make amends for sorrow ; 
" Oh kiss me once before we part 
" Who shall not meet to-morrow. 

" And I was wrong to urge your will, 

" And wrong to mar your life ; 
" But kiss me once before we part, 
" Because you are my wife." 

She turned her head and tossed her head 

And puckered up her brow : 
" I never kissed you yet," said she, 

" And I 11 not kiss you now. 

" Tho I m your wife by might and right 
" And forsworn marriage vow, 

" I never loved you yet," said she, 
" And I don t love you now." 



HUSBAND AND WIFE. 43 

So he went sailing on the sea, 

And she sat crossed and dumb 
While he went sailing on the sea 

Where the storm winds come. 

He d been away a month and day 

Counting from morn to morn ; 
And many buds had turned to leaves, 

And many lambs were born, 

And many buds had turned to flowers, 

For Spring was in a glow, 
When she was laid upon her bed 

As white and cold as snow. 

" Oh let me kiss my baby once, 

" Once before I die ; 
" And bring it sometimes to my grave 

" To teach it where I lie. 

" And tell my husband when he comes 

" Safe home from sea, 
."To love the baby that I leave 

" If ever he loved me : 



44 HUSBAND AND WIFE. 

" And tell him, not for might or right 
" Or forsworn marriage vow, 

" But for the helpless baby s sake, 
" I would have kissed him now." 



THIS LIFE OF OURS. 45 



THIS LIFE OF OURS. 

(A SONG BY THE WAY.) 

LIFE of ours, when from thy grape 

A poisoned vintage flows, 
And to the whitened, cheated lips, 
The wine a sinking comrade sips 
A deadly gift bestows ; 
O he will raise the murderous cup 
With trembling hand that s loyal yet : 
" Drink to this glorious life of ours, 
Drink the dark wine fate grimly pours ; 
There is no terror but regret." 

Regret and blame, they 11 turn you tame ! 
O when a friend proves not a friend, 
" Farewell " shall be the only word 
By the sly listening demons heard ; 
And love s beginning soothe its end. 
If eyes are harsh that once were kind, 



46 THIS LIFE OF OURS. 



And lips are proud that lately kissed, 
O, let no faltering utterance show 
The bitter inner overflow : 
We are not mourned unless we re missed. 

Then life of ours, this life of ours ! 

Breathe her no coward sigh. 

Is she a niggard of her hoard ? 

She gives a title to a lord, 

And to a knave, the lie. 

But when along the misty hills 

You see Grief coming, gray and cold 

(Spear-armed like Pallas stern of old), 

And when your heart with horror fills, 

All-silent step before the breach, 

Nor raise the brittle shield of speech 

In parley; for thy doom is told. 



QUESTION AND NO ANSWER. 47 



QUESTION AND NO ANSWER. 

TS it Ethics or Physics ? Ah, that is the question : 
Is it trouble of Conscience or morbid digestion ? 
Is the temper that makes all my family quiver 
Ill-disciplined mind or disorder of Liver ? 
Does the Passion, that makes even wise men eccentrical 
Proceed from the Heart ? and if so from which ventricle ? 
Are duty and courage fine functions of Nerves 
Just as one horse goes steady, and another horse swerves ? 
Is the Genius that nature can hardly contain, 
A film of gray marrow effused on the brain ? 
. . . Don t believe it, dear lady, or better, don t know it 
But contentedly stick to your Parson and Poet. 



48 QUATRAINS. 



QUATRAINS. 
THE MONEY- SEEKER. 

"\T 7HAT has he in this glorious world s domain ? 

Unreckoned loss, which he counts up as gain ; 
Unreckoned shame, of which he feels no stain ; 
Unreckoned dead he does not know were slain ; 

What things does he take with him when he dies ? 
Nothing of all that he on earth did prize : 
Unto his grovelling feet and sordid eyes 
How difficult and empty seem the skies ! 

THE LOVER. 

He knows the utmost secret of the earth : 
The golden sunrise s and sunset s worth ; 
The pregnancy of every blossom s birth ; 
The hidden name of every creature s mirth. 



QUATRAINS. 49 



He knows all measures of the pulse s beat ; 
He knows all pathless paths of human feet 
He knows what angels know not of the sweet 
Fulfilments when love s being is complete. 

He knows all deadly soils where poisons bloom ; 
He knows the fated road where joy makes room 
For nameless terrors and eternal gloom : 
God help him in his sad omniscient doom ! 



50 ON APPLEDORE. 



ON APPLEDORE. 

/^^OME thou with me, dear love, and see the day 

Die on the sea, and o er the distant land 
This last faint glow of twilight fade away, 
The while I hold in mine thy gentle hand. 

The lessening light gleams on yon leaning sail ; 
Slowly the sun has sunk beyond the hill, 
And sombre night in silence draws her veil 
Over us two, and every thing grows still. 

Save when the tide, with constant ebb and flow 
Of wandering waves that greet the steadfast shore, 
Flashes fair forms of foam that falling throw 
Their ardent arms round rocky Appledore. 

Faint comes the cry of wild fowl in their flight 
And chirp of crickets in the clover by, 
A meteor falls across the face of night 
Sweeping its silver shower through the sky 1 



ON APPLEDORE. 51 

Or like the thread of a delicious dream 
Some far-off sand-bird pipes its evening song, 
While overhead the stars of Heaven beam 
And bright Arcturus leads the sparkling throng. 

Low whispering by us with a silent kiss 

Comes the sweet south wind o er the slumbering sea : 

Thou dearest ! can such a perfect joy as this 

Be always mine, to drift through life with thee ? 



52 JASPER OAKES. 



JASPER OAKES. 

nP^HE captain follows the sea no more, 

But spends the eve of his days on shore 
And when about him an eager band 
Beg for a tale of the sea or land, 
The gentlest among them plead and coax 
For the sad, strange story of Jasper Oakes. 



The ship was ready, the cargo stored, 
The wind was willing, the crew on board, 
And we sailed away from the English shore 
For fair Manhattan, our home, once more ; 
But half way over, there came a blow 
That threatened to sink us fathoms low. 

The mate I shipped on the trip before 

Was the bravest fellow on wave or shore, 

A thorough seaman, alert and wise, 

And wondrous handsome, with fearless eyes, 

A swift, sure foot and a steady hand, 

A right good comrade on sea or land. 



JASPER OAKES. 53 

The jib swung loose in the sudden gale ; 

"Up," I shouted, "and furl the sail." 

Before another could make reply, 

The mate sprung forward and cried, " Aye, aye ! 

I am the oldest sailor here " 

" Stay ! " I screamed in his heedless ear, 

" Fasten a rope s end round you, then, 

Even sailors are only men : 

A dip of the boom will break your hold " 

" No ! " he shouted, unwisely bold, 

" Never a cowardly rope for me. 

Tether a squirrel to climb a tree ! " 

The laboring vessel, with creak and strain, 
Struggled and groaned like a thing in pain, 
But Oakes, the bravest of all my men, 
Never stood on the deck again : 
Torn from his hold by the mad waves might, 
The wild sea swallowed him out of sight. 

My gallant shipmate ! I missed him sore, 

And grieved as I seldom grieved before ; 

Yet, in my brooding, was glad to know 

What he had told me a time ago, 

" I ve not a tie in the world," said he, 

" A ship is my sweetheart, my home the sea j 



54 JASPER OAKES. 

" And if I choke in the bitter brine, 
Nobody s venture goes down but mine ! " 
So I rejoiced that no hearth was dim, 
No fond heart broken, because of him, 
That no sad woman would pine and wait 
Or come and ask for the missing mate. 

Past the Narrows and up the bay, 
Home we came on a bright March day, 
Glad of our harbor ; and, almost ere 
The vessel touched at the well-known pier, 
Lightly over the side there came 
A slip of a girl, who called my .name. 

She had a face like an early rose, 

And the smile of a child, who hardly knows 

What the burden of living means 

Scarcely out of her happy teens 

" And who," I asked, " do you chance to be, 

And what, my girl, do you want with me ? " 

" Only your mate " with a smile more sweet, 

" Your mate, my husband, I came to meet. 

I could not wait, sir, a moment more ; 

I could not stay till he came on shore ; 

I hope " she paused, and her face grew dim - 

" I hope no evil has chanced to him ? " 



JASPER OAKES. 55 

Stunned for a moment, I hardly knew 
Whether my eyes and ears were true, 
Yet there she stood, in her hopeful youth, 
Her whole face earnest with love and truth, 
Eager and anxious, with lips apart, 
Waiting for news that would break her heart. 

" Out on the jib-boom in a gale 

He went in the darkness to furl a sail, 

The vessel struggled and plunged and tossed 

The ropes were icy and he was lost." 

Bitter and cruel words, I knew, 

But what could a clumsy sailor do ? 

Out of her face, in an instant white, 
Vanished the glow, like a blown-out light, 
The smile of joy and the beaming hope 
And down she dropped on a coil of rope, 
Wringing her hands with moans of woe, 
Like one struck down by a sudden blow. 

The pitying sailors kindly bore 
The poor girl-widow back on shore, 
And the mate s sea-chest, and the little hoard 
Of foreign trinkets he- had on board ; 
But her poor pale face, with its grief and fright 
Haunted my dreams for many a night. 



56 JASPER OAKES. 

With April s sunshine and breezes cool 
We bowled back blithely to Liverpool, 
And when at the close of a cloudy day 
In front of its dingy wharves we lay, 
Crossing the deck I chanced to see 
A fair-faced woman, who asked for me. 

No fresh young girl with a rosy face, 

But a woman, wearing a matron s grace, 

In whose soft eyes, as they questioned mine, 

I saw the look of a mother shine ; 

And closely grasping her garment s fold, 

Was a three-years baby, with hair like gold. 

With a chill that smote like a sudden blast 
I thought of the woman who stood there last, 
Sinking under her great despair ; 
And my glance grew into a startled stare, 
As the boy came forward, and gazed at me 
With the eyes of the man I had lost at sea. 

" Where is Oakes ? " asked a voice of doubt, 

" Who sailed with you on the voyage out ? 

I am his wife have I come too late ? 

Has he gone on shore ? do you hesitate ? 

Speak to me, tell me I Ah, I see 

You are keeping some terrible truth from me ! " 



JASPER OAKES. 57 

Staggered, breathless in dazed surprise 
Under the spell of those well-known eyes, 
Eyes which silenced my struggling doubt 
" Lost " I gasped " on the passage out 
Lost from the jib-boom furling sail 
Overboard in a heavy gale. " 



Thus, as the captain quaffs and smokes, 
He tells the story of Jasper Oakes. 



STARLIGHT. 



STARLIGHT. 

"\T 7HILE the broad night above me broods, 
In all her shadowy plenitudes, 

I let my roaming vision fare 
Through many an aisle of starry air. 

" Bright throngs," I muse, " that o er us bend, 
How vague the messages you send ! 

" That fiery star, within whose rays 
A wicked blood-red ardor plays, 

" May be some world where dwell serene 
A race with souls divinely clean ! 

" And that large tear of saintly light, 
O er the dead sunset throbbing white, 

" Its snowy splendors looking, now, 
Fit for some aureoled spirit s brow, 

" That star through ages may have been 
Some great wild world that teems with sin ! " 



THE BUNCH OF WILD FLOWERS. 59 



THE BUNCH OF WILD FLOWERS. 

OTAKE this perfumed dewy offering, 
Not fairer than thyself, though wondrous bright, 
Fanned by the woodland zephyr s balmy wing, 

At nature s kindly call, in sweet delight 
Of their own beauty, these fresh wild flowers spring ! 

On what brown breezy moorland or green height, 
In what cool sylvan glen or bosky dell, 
Thou askest have I plucked them. I will tell ! 

Thou knowest the stream that through the meadows sweet 
And groves and gardens leaves the sunny plain 

In a great silver coil, then hastes to meet 
Its high-born sister that speeds down amain 

From the far summits to the mountain feet, 

And where they bounding join with murmuring strain 

Of watery music, opes from plain and river 

A gorge whose sides with leafy wildwoods quiver. 



60 THE BUNCH OF WILD FLOWERS. 

Into that gorge, like children to their home, 
At Maytide glad returning, down the hills 

Clothed in light wreaths of pearl and silver foam 
And glittering in the sunlight, leap the rills ; 

Through its aerial depths the breezes roam 
Whispering mysterious language, and the bills 

Of many birds make music in its woods 

Answering the voices of the falling floods. 

Of all these little crystal watery threads 
One most I love that, ere it tumbles down 

Into the gorge, through a flat moorland sheds 
A linked light. There th Iris lifts its crown 

Of feathery gold and blue, and silver beds 
Of daisies gleam, and heather purple brown 

And green fern deck ks brink, and pearly floss 

Of shining moor-flax and bright golden moss. 

This morn at rise of sun, upon the bank 

Of that sweet brook, thinking of days gone by, 

I slowly strayed, for there the heather drank 
Longsyne the blood of battle, there the eye 

Of valor blazed, and there the conquered sank 
With no small meed of glory, for the sky 

Ne er looked on starker field as night came on 

And the white moon on equal carnage shone ! 



THE BUNCH OF WILD FLOWERS. 6l 

There oft the shepherd s lonely footsteps pass 
By ancient graves forgotten, there his look 

Not seldom met the cloven helm of brass 

And shivered sword-blade by the tumbling brook : 

There riven corselets once gleamed mid the grass, 
And whitened skulls o er which the red plume shook 

In warlike pride upon that hapless day, 

But all with time and rust have passed away. 

And as I wandered on, anigh I drew 
Unto a spot where stood a fair Ash tree 

Alone, new garmented in leaves wherethrough 
The morning zephyrs whispered blithefully 

As if from some far heavenly place they blew ; 
Around it spread a flower-enamelled lea, 

And neath its shadow rose a small green mound 

That heard alway the streamlet s lulling sound. 

Upon that little height I sat me down 

And paused a while, and thought of those who slept 
Beneath me, for I knew from old renown 

The story of their fate. Wellnigh I wept 
To think of them. Thou knowest the ancient town, 

Upon the bending lowland stream, that kept 
Watch on the passes, when of old the hand 
Of baleful war uprose with reeking brand. 



62 THE BUNCH OF WILD FLOWERS. 

Beside the town there dwelt a lordly man 

Of lineage old, who had one daughter fair; 

Over her golden head twelve summers span 
Had scarcely sped when on the meadows bare 

Beside the stream, as civil strife began 
Her father met his foe, and blindly there 

They fought and slew each other, and their gore, 

Mingled together, stained the river shore ! 

And the foe had one son, a gallant boy, 

Born with high heart and hand, and friends would tell 
The tale, well mixed with subtle hate s alloy, 

How on the fatal sward his father fell 
And by whose hand, urging him to destroy 

The rival house, till one day in a dell 
Beside her home they met, this youthful twain, 
And stead of hate, love bound them in his chain ! 

And spite of warring friends on either side, 
Of death and ancient bickerings, year by year 

Their love grew stronger, till in hope and pride 
Of youthful manhood he, without a peer 

In all the land, besought her for his bride, 
And on light wings the bridal day drew near, 

And women blessed them whose young hearts did prove 

That feudal hate could never vanquish love ! 



THE BUNCH OF WILD FLOWERS. 63 

But ere it came, the joyous bridal day, 

War s cloud had burst in wrath, the eager fife, 

The rattling drum, the brazen clarion s bray, 

Were heard on all sides mustering for the strife ; 

And stead of marriage robe, the iron gray 

Gleamed o er his breast, and filled with martial life 

The long plume danced above his helmed head 

As from his loved one to the fray he sped. 

Upon that moorland of the Stream and Tree 
The hostile ranks were marshalled face to face, 

And each one darkly eyed his enemy 

And grasped his sword-hilt firmer, as the space 

Grew narrower twixt the advancing lines, and he, 
That soldier brave and young, in forempst place 

Of the long ridge of battle, through the smoke 

Upon the opposing ranks in thunder broke. 

And as his fierce-eyed charger clove the press 
Of the thick spears in front, and he drew nigh 

The foeman s standard, with quick watchfulness 
Mid the loud roar he marked a kindly eye 

Bent on him with a look of sore distress, 

And a light nervous hand and sword raised high 

To ward him gainst the frequent blows that came 

On his proud head amid the dust and flame ! 



64 THE BUNCH OF WILD FLOWERS. 

He knew that anxious eye, that lovely form 

Now armed and clad in warlike guise, twas she ! 

For to all daring deeds will true love warm 
Brave woman s heart ! In dire extremity 

She could not stay behind, and sought the storm 
Of battle by his side, and on that lea, 

Alas ! both fell together, as the day 

Beyond the mountain summits died away ! 

Next morn the victors found them ; on his breast 
Her young head lay in all its wealth and pride 

Of golden locks, and peaceful was their rest, 

And painless seemed the breath wherewith they died. 

Well the rough soldiers their sad story guessed, 
And buried them with reverence side by side, 

On the flat moorland s fairest spot of ground, 

And raised above their clay that little mound. 

These flowers were culled around that hallowed spot : 

Here are bright Violets wet with morning s tears, 

And here cerulean blue Forget-me-not, 
And Hyacinth, for Constancy, that rears 

Its head with Harebell by cool ferny grot, 

And Pimpernel that wakes the shepherd s fears 

Of wind and rain, and Heartsease : ah ! they grew 

Perchance above where closed her eyes of blue ! 



THE BUNCH OF WILD FLOWERS. 65 

< 
Here s Marygold for grief, and Celandine 

For bliss to come, and Primrose golden pale, 
Emblem of youth, and Buttercups that shine 

For childhood s joy, and Cowslips of the vale, 
Symbol of maiden grace, and dewy wine 

Of Johnswort that of old days tells the tale, 
And Daffodils, the fairest of the fair, 
Sprung from the spot touched by her yellow hair ! 

Here s delicate Anemone, that vain 

Stern Boreas wooed to his wide, wastes of snow, 
Here Daisies are for Innocence, for pain 

And pleasure mixed these sweet Wild roses blow, 
With Moorpink washed by diamond summer rain, 

All sprung from where her beauteous cheeks lay low, 
And this great blood-red flower that nature s art 
Formed from the clay where mouldered his true heart ! 

With Ivy I have bound them fresh and green, 

Eternal symbol of Fidelity, 
And Hawthorn blooms that tell of Hope serene, 

And with some leaves of that lone ashen tree 
That whispers o er their graves old songs which mean 

I know not what ! Then take these flowers from me, 
Born of the fruitful sun and mountain airs, 
And think a while on love and what it dares ! 

5 



66 YACHTING. 



H 



YACHTING. 

OVV the breezes bend and bow her, - 
This frail yacht, that like a flower 

Overfloats the rolling foam ! 
Swift her sides the waters hiss on, 
While yon calmer spaces glisten 

With the sunset s monochrome. 

Twixt the deeps of sky and ocean 
Holdeth she her eager motion : 

So, between thy spirit s height 
And my answering depth of passion, 
My frail being seems to dash on, 

Buoyant, through the sunset-light ! 



A QUANDARY. 67 



A QUANDARY. 

*" I ^ELL my lady she is fair ? 
That no news is, truly. 
Tell her she is sweet and rare, 

Pure and lovely past compare ? 
Will it strike her newly ? 

No, some other way to woo 
Must be found to win her. 

What if I be fond and true ? 
All the world adores her, too, 

Such a spell is in her. 

Ah, I have t ! I 11 stay away, 
Though I wander sadly ; 

Then, to say her gentle nay 

She must send for me some day, 

And I 11 go right gladly ! 



68 DON T OVERDO IT. 



DON T OVERDO IT. 

T WONDER whether 

April-weather 

Has taught you, lady, how to rule 
My eager heart 
With frolic art, 
And keep it playing still Love s fool. 

Your sunny breeze is 

False, and freezes ; 

And when I think a freshening rain 

Has come, the gust 

Brings only dust, 

And leaves me parched with barren pain. 

A woman s favor 

Loses savor 

If it be yielded all too soon; 

Tis very true. 

But were I you 

I d heed the changes of the moon. 



DON T OVERDO IT. 69 

Your game is losing, 

Though amusing. 

Pray, have you seen an early bud 

In spring unfold, 

Then shrink with cold 

And hide its blushing flower-blood ? 

In such a season 

There s small reason ; 

And, though we sport with laughing May, 

Tis constant June 

So fair and boon 

That wins the flower and makes it stay. 

Once overdo it, 

And you 11 rue it : 

Too sharp a frost will kill, I fear. 

The bloom you waste 

Can t be replaced, 

At least, until another year ! 



70 LOVE S DAY. 



LOVE S DAY. 

/^V THAT my heart were the rose of the garden 

Love is the Lord of, and Summer the Warden, 
Where you would come for the cool of the air, 
With eyes full of pleading, with lips full of pardon, 
And take me and break me and scatter me there, 
Raining in rose leaves, ruined away, 
Where none can know of and none can say, 
And my heart, my heart, should have had its clay. 

O that my heart were the breezes that sigh for you 
Over the passionate flowers that die for you, 
Beating against your window at night 
O like a flame I would quiver and fly for you, 
Fast to your dream, as you lay there white, 
Lost in the moonlight, wafted away, 
Where none can know of and none can say, 
And my heart, my heart, should have had its day. 



LOVERS DAY. 7 1 



O my poor heart, and where can I throw it ? 
Love as I love twere a sin to show it, 
For years have changed and the hour gone by 
My heart must break, you must never know it ; 
The love I love can but dream and die, 
Weeping by night and wasting by day, 
Where none can know of, and none can say, 
And my heart, my heart, shall have had its day. 



7 2 GARDEN-PERIL. 



GARDEN-PERIL. 



/^VVER a garden paling 

In a soft midsummer day 
A butterfly went sailing, 
Went he, as who should say, 
"There s nought in this world ailing, 
So let the world be gay." 

Went he from pink to posy, 
But had no mind to sip, 
The blossoms all were rosy, 
With dew upon their lip ; 
So snug felt he and cosy, 
The whole parterre would skip. 

So often had it flaunted, 
The scent was growing stale ; 
The same old roses panted, 
The same old lilies pale 
Their honey-flavor vaunted, 
The summer s tedious tale. 



GARDEN-PERIL. 73 

Heart-whole, the jaunty sailor 
Cruised, all his canvas set, 
Deigned not a rose to hail, or 
In one his thirst to wet ; 
No bud shall be his jailer, 
No coy cup make him fret. 

Ha ! up his colors flaring 
He nailed them to the mast, 
And down the garden bearing, 
His reef he found at last : 
Too late, too late for wearing, 
Too late the lead to cast. 

So sudden, so secluded, 
So mantled in a mist, 
Her violet-temper brooded, 
Not waiting to be kissed, 
But not to be eluded : 
His wreck became a tryst ! 



74 A WOMAN\S DEATH WOUND. 



A WOMAN S DEATH WOUND. 

TT left upon her tender flesh no trace. 

The murderer is safe. As swift as light 
The weapon fell, and, in the summer night, 
Did scarce the silent dewy air displace. 
Twas but a word. A blow had been less base. 
Like dumb beast branded by an iron white 
With heat, she turned in blind and helpless flight, 
But then remembered, and with piteous face 
Came back. 

Since then, the world has nothing missed 
In her in voice or smile. But she each day 
She counts until her dying be complete. 
One moan she makes, and ever doth repeat, 
" Oh lips which I had loved and kissed and kissed, 
Did I deserve to die this bitterest way ? " 



A LOVER S TESTS. ?$ 



A LOVER S TESTS. 

T SAT to-day beneath the pine 

And saw the long lake shine. 
The wind was weary, and the day 

Sank languidly away 
Behind the forest s purple rim : 
The sun was fair for me, I lived for him ! 

I did not miss you. All was sweet, 
Sky, earth, and soul complete 

In harmony, which could afford 
No more,. nor spoil the chord. 

Could I be blest, and you afar, 
Were other I, or you, than what we are ? 

The sifted silver of the night 
Rained down a strange delight ; 

The moon s moist beam on meadows made 
Pale bars athwart the shade, 

And murmurs crept from tree to tree, 
Mysterious whispers not from you to me ! 



76 A LOVER^S TESTS. 

I stirred the embers, roused the brand 

And mused : on either hand 
The pedigree of human thought 

Sang, censured, cheered, or taught. 
Pausing at each Titanic line, 
I caught no echo from your soul to mine ! 

And last, when life recast its form 

To passive rest and warm, 
Ere the soft, lingering senses cease 

In sleep s half-conscious peace, 
The wish I might have fashioned died 
In dreams that never brought you to my side ! 

Farewell ! my nature s highest stress 

Mine equal shall possess. 
Tis easier to renounce, or wait, 

Haply, the perfect fate. 
My coldness is the haughty fire 
That naught consumes except its full desire ! 



HER WORD OF REPROACH. 77 



HER WORD OF REPROACH. 

\X 7 E must not quarrel, whatever we do ; 

For if I was (but I was not ! ) wrong, 
Here are the tears for it, here are the tears : 
What else has a woman to offer you ? 

Love might not last for a thousand years, 
You know, though the stars should rise so long. 

Oh you, you talk in a man s great way ! 

So, love would last though the stars should fall ? 

Why, yes. If it last to the grave, indeed, 
After the grave last on it may. 

But in the grave? Will its dust take heed 
Of any thing sweet or the sweetest of all ? 

Ah, death is nothing ! It may be so. 

Yet, granting at least that death is death, 
(Pray look at the rose, arid hear the bird,) 

Whatever it is we must die to know ! 
Sometime we may long to say one word 

Together and find we have no breath. 



78 HER WORD OF REPROACH. 

Ah me, how divine you are growing again ! 
How coldly sure that the Heavens are sure, 

Whither too lightly you always fly 

To hide from the passion of human pain. 

Come, grieve that the Earth is not secure, 
For this one night and forget the sky ! 



FORGIVEN. 79 



FORGIVEN. 

THO-DAY I must forgive you in a song, 

And put all from me for the old love s sake, 
Leave the vexed question, who was right or wrong, 

When love broke up, and our hearts did not break ; 
And think of you as one not far away. 
What is there floating in the air to-day 

That gets old, sleeping memories awake ? 

A lark began it, singing out of sight ; 

Then, from wet woods, a thrush put in your name, 
And sang it over for my heart s delight ; 

And with the wet blown breath of flowers there came 
A tender, subtle fragrance of regret : 
On dead love s grave the grass grows greener yet, 

And you, to-day, far-off, may think the same. 



80 FORGIVEN. 



I have a fancy we go out to-day, 

And tread the woods together, and again 

Go, both of us, the dear, familiar way. 
Soft hazy light succeeds to quiet rain, 

And thrushes, whose low chant you understand, 

With songs of blackbirds reach us, on each hand, 
Nature is for us, in our joy and pain. 

Let us remember how, in days gone by 

When our lives mixed together for love s sake, 

We stood thus, while the light went out on high 

And birds stopped singing ; while from field and brake, 

Whence bats flew out in stealthy, circling flight, 

We heard the small, sweet voices of the night 
Begin in faltering music to awake. 

You thought me so much better than I was 
I found you perfect Ah, to blame, to blame ! 

The sweet hallucination could but pass, 

And with the passing how much sharpness came ! 

You, nothing perfect cold, intolerant, 

With mind on some far, shadowy good intent 

Your love a moonbeam ; mine the sun s large flame. 



FORGIVEN. 8 1 



Well, what is left for us to say or do ? 

So many thorns you found in my poor rose 
I took it from your hand, and laughed at you ; 

The tears came after then came bland repose 
Almost forgetfulness until, to-day, 
The thrushes singing of you all the way 

Found me the song my wanderings to close. 

I deemed you should be with me, but, alas ! 

That sweetest thought could not my fancy hold : 
I only trail my shadow on the grass 

Here s nature to myself, and rest untold 
Yet the time wants you, and the peaceful place 
Would be more peaceful for your peaceful face, 

Your gracious figure, and your hair s red gold. 

Ah ! woods and fields all speak to me of you, 
As you, in town, would speak of these to me : 

Gray, quiet air faint sunlight falters through, 
The rest of hills, the eve s tranquillity 

Through which some late, last bird flies home and sings 

We love you for your semblance to these things, 
But find behind no fair reality. 



82 FORGIVEN. 



And is this the forgiveness that I planned ? 

And do I chicle you to the end ? Nay, Sweet ! 
So long ago since we loosed hand from hand, 

My love and sorrow both have been complete, 
And both have almost faded out of sight, 

o " 

Almost I say, you understand, not quite 

Your voice might quicken still my pulse s beat. 

It seems a strange forgiveness yet, indeed, 
You are forgiven, for the thrushes sake 

Live on and prosper ! We have no more need 
Of one another no more thirsts to slake 

And many days I find, and many miss, 

But haply nevermore a day like this, 
To kiss old sleeping memories awake. 



WE TWAIN. 83 



WE TWAIN. 



, Earth and Heaven are far apart ! 
But what if they were one, 
And neither you nor I, Sweetheart, 

Had anyway misdone ? 
When we, like laughing rivers fleet, 

That cannot choose but flow, 
Among the flowers should meet and greet, 
Should meet and mingle so, 

Sweetheart, 
That would be sweet, I know. 

II. 

No need to swerve and drift apart, 

Or any bliss resign ; 
Then I should all be yours, Sweetheart, 

And you would all be mine. 
But ah, to rush, defiled and brown, 

From thaw of smirched snow, 
To spoil the corn, beat down and drown 

The rath, red lilies low 
Sweetheart, 

I do not want you so ! 



84 WE TWAIN. 



III. 

For you and I are far apart ; 

And never may we meet, 
Till you are glad and grand, Sweetheart, 

Till I am fair and sweet. 
Till morning-light has kissed us white 

As highest Alpine snow, 
Till both are brave and bright of sight, 

Go wander high or low, 
Sweetheart : 

For God will have it so. 



IV. 

Oh, Heaven and Earth are far apart ! 

If you are bond or free, 
And if you climb or crawl, Sweetheart, 

Can no way hinder me. 
But see you come in lordly state, 

With mountain winds a-glow, 
When I, by dazzling gate shall wait, 

To meet and love you so, 
Sweetheart ! 

That will be Heaven, I know. 



A FALLEN HOUSE. 85 



A FALLEN HOUSE. 

r I ""HE End has come, which never seems the End, 
And thou and I, who loved so long and well, 
Find, at the last, our Fate implacable 
Stern Fate, who wills not that our lives should blend 
But overthrows fair things we did intend : 

The house in which long time we thought to dwell 
Was built above a ruin, so it fell 
Great was the fall, which no man could defend. 

Behold it lies there overthrown, that house 
In its fair halls no comer shall carouse 

Its broad rooms with strange Silences are filled ; 
No fire upon its crumbling hearth shall glow, 
Seeing its desolation men shall know 

On ruin of what was they may not build. 



86 THE WANDERER. 



THE WANDERER. 

T OVE comes back to his vacant dwelling, 
The old, old Love that we knew of yore ! 
We see him stand by the open door, 
With his great eyes sad, and his bosom swelling. 

He makes as though in our arms repelling, 
He fain would lie as he lay before ; 

Love comes back to his vacant dwelling, 

t> 

The old, old Love that we knew of yore ! 

Ah, who shall help us from over-spelling 
That sweet forgotten, forbidden lore ! 
E en as we doubt in our heart once more, 
With a rush of tears to our eyelids welling, 
Love comes back to his vacant dwelling. 



AT TWILIGHT. S/ 



AT TWILIGHT. 

\ T twilight, when the air is very still, 
^"^ When the last daylight cleaves to the last hill, 
And streams give answer to the changing sky, 
When we go home together, Grief and I, 
And gaze again from the old window-sill, 

Then is my life most desolate ; until 
Your Angel, giving answer to my will, 
Troubles the sullen pools of memory 
At twilight. 

All yours, O Love, are those sweet thoughts that fill 
My heart as brim high as the sacred rill 
The sad eye d throng looked on so longingly. 
There I am healed. There, as the years go by, 
My love for you rises more chastened still 
At twilight. 



88 THE MARSHES OF GLYNN. 



THE MARSHES OF GLYNN. 

f~^ LOOMS of the live-oaks, beautiful-braided and 

woven 

With intricate shades of the vines that myriad-cloven 
Clamber the forks of the multiform boughs, 
Emerald twilights, 
Virginal shy lights, 

Wrought of the leaves to allure to the whisper of vows, 
When lovers pace timidly down through the green 

colonnades 
Of the dim sweet woods, of the dear dark woods, 

Of the heavenly woods and glades, 
That run to the radiant marginal sand-beach within 
The wide sea-marshes of Glynn ; 

Beautiful glooms, soft dusks in the noon-day fire, 

Wildwood privacies, closets of lone desire, 

Chamber from chamber parted with wavering arras of 

leaves, 
Cells for the passionate pleasure of prayer to the soul 

that grieves, 



THE MARSHES OF GLYNN. 89 

Pure with a sense of the passing of saints through the 

wood, 
Cool for the dutiful weighing of ill with good ; 

O braided dusks of the oak and woven shades of the 



vine. 



While the riotous noon-day sun of the June-day long did 

shine, 
Ye held me fast in your heart and I held you fast in 

mine ; 

But now when the noon is no more, and riot is rest, 
And the sun doth wait at the ponderous gate of the 

West, 
And the slant yellow beam down the wood-aisle doth 

seem 

Like a lane into heaven that leads from a dream, 
Ay, now, when my soul all day hath drunken the soul of 

the oak, 
And my heart is at ease from men, and the wearisome 

sound of the stroke 

Of the scythe of time and the trowel of trade is low, 
And belief overmasters doubt, and I know that I know, 
And my spirit is grown to a lordly great compass 
within, 



90 THE MARSHES OF GLYNN. 

That the length and the breadth and the sweep of the 

marshes of Glynn 
Will work me no fear like the fear they have wrought 

me of yore 
When length was fatigue, and when breadth was but 

bitterness sore, 
And when terror and shrinking and dreary unnamable 

pain 
Drew over me out of the merciless width of the plain, 

Oh, now, unafraid, I am fain to face 

The vast sweet visage of space. 
To the edge of the wood I am drawn, I am drawn, 
Where the gray beach glimmering runs, as a belt of the 
dawn, 

For a mete and a mark 
To the forest-dark : 

So: 

Affable live-oak, bending low 
Thus with your favor soft, with a reverent hand, 
(Not lightly touching your person, Lord of the land !) 
Swinging your beauty aside, with a step I stand 
On the firm-packed sand, 

Free 
By a world of marsh that borders a world of sea. 



THE MARSHES OF GLYNN. 91 

Sinuous southward and sinuous northward the shim 
mering band 
Of the sand-beach fastens the fringe of the marsh to the 

folds of the land. 
Inward and outward to northward and southward the 

beach-lines linger and curl 
As a silver-wrought garment that clings to and follows 

the firm sweet limbs of a girl. 

Vanishing, swerving, evermore curving again into sight, 
Softly the sand-beach wavers away to a dim gray loop 
ing of light. 
And what if behind me to westward the wall of the 

woods stands high ? 
The world lies east : how ample, the marsh and the 

sea and the sky ! 
A league and a league of marsh-grass, waist-high, 

broad in the blade, 
Green, and all of a height, and unflecked with a light 

or a shade, 

Stretch leisurely off, in a pleasant plain, 
To the terminal blue of the main. 



Oh, what is abroad in the marsh and the terminal sea ? 
Somehow my soul seems suddenly free 



92 THE MARSHES OF GLYNN. 

From the weighing of fate and the sad discussion of 

sin, 

By the length and the breadth and the sweep of the 
marshes of Glynn. 

Ye marshes, how candid and simple and nothing-with 
holding and free 

Ye publish yourselves to the sky and offer yourselves to 
the sea ! 

Tolerant plains, that suffer the sea and the rains and the 

sun, 
Ye spread and span like the catholic man who hath 

mightily won 

God out of knowledge and good out of infinite pain 
And sight out of blindness and purity out of a stain. 

As the marsh-hen secretly builds on the watery sod, 
Behold I will build me a nest on the favor of God : 
I will fly in the favor of God as the marsh-hen flies 
In the freedom that fills all the space twixt the marsh 

and the skies : 

By so many roots as the marsh-grass sends in the sod 
I will heartily lay me a hold on the favor of God. 



THE MARSHES OF GLYNN. 93 

Oh, like to the favor of God, for the largeness within, 
Is the range of the marshes, the liberal marshes of 
Glynn. 

And the sea lends large, as the marsh : lo, out of his 

plenty the sea 
Pours fast : full soon the time of the flood of the tide 

must be : 

Look how the grace of the sea doth go 
About and about through the intricate channels that flow 
Here and there, 

Everywhere, 
Till his waters have flooded the uttermost creeks and 

the high-lying lanes, 

And the marsh is meshed with a million veins, 
That like as with rosy and silvery essences flow 
In the rose-and-silver evening glow. 

Farewell, my lord Sun ! 

The creeks overflow : a thousand rivulets run 
Twixt the roots of the sod ; the blades of the marsh- 
grass stir ; 

Passeth a hurrying sound of wings that nestward whirr : 
Passeth, and all is still : and the currents cease to run ; 
And the sea and the marsh are one. 



94 THE MARSHES OF GLYNN. 

How still the plains of the waters be ! 

The tide is in his ecstasy. 
The tide is at his highest height : 
And it is night. 

And now from the vast of the Lord will the waters of 

sleep 

Roll in on the souls of men, 
But who will reveal to our waking ken 
The forms that swim and the shapes that creep 

Under the waters of sleep ? 
And I would I could know what swimmeth below when 

the tide comes in 

On the length and the breadth of the marvellous marshes 
of Glynn. 



THE WICKED NEPHEW. 95 



BALLAD OF THE WICKED NEPHEW. 

TT was a wicked Nephew bold 

Who uprose in the night, 
And ground upon a huge grindstone 
His penknife, sharp and bright. 

And while the sparks were flying wild 
The cellar floor upon, 
Quoth he unto himself, " I will 
Despatch my Uncle John ! 

" His property is large, and if 
He dies, and leaves a Will, 
His loving Nephew (that s myself) 
Won t get a dollar bill. 

" I 11 hie unto my Uncle s bed, 
His chamber well I know, 
And there I 11 find his pocket-book 
Safe under his \\-low. 



96 THE WICKED NEPHEW. 

"With this bright steel I 11 slay him first, 

Because that is the way 

They do such things, I understand, 

In Boucicault s new Play." 

By this the anxious moon retired, 
(For all the stars were in), 
" Tis very dark," the Nephew cried, 
" But I can find my kin ! " 

" Gome forth my trusty weapon now ! " 
(Or words to that effect), 
He shouted to his little blade 
Whose power he did suspect. 

Then out he starts. His Uncle s door 
Is thirteen doors from his : 

x 

He gains the latch, which upward flies, 
And straight inside he is ! 

One pause upon the entry stair, 
And one upon the mat, 
How still the house at such an hour ! 
How mewless lies the cat ! 



THE WICKED NEPHEW. 97 

" O Nephew ! Nephew ! be not rash, 
Turn back, and then * turn in ; 
Your Uncle still is sound asleep, 
And you devoid of sin ! 

" The gallows-tree was never built 
For handsome lads like you, 
Get thee to bed ! (as kind Macbeth 
Wished his young man to do)." 

He will not be advised, he stands 
Beside the sleeping form, 
The hail begins to beat outside 
A tattoo for the storm. 

"Tis not too late repent ! repent ! 
And all may yet be well ! " 
" Repent yourself ! " the Nephew sneers 
And at it goes pell-mell ! 

To right and left he carves his way, 
At least thus did it seem, 
And, after he had done the deed, 
Woke up from his bad dream. 
7 



98 THE WICKED NEPHEW. 

And swift to Uncle John he ran, 
When daylight climbed the hill, 
And told him all and Uncle John 
.Put Nephew in his Will. 



THE ANGLER. 99 



THE ANGLER. 

A N angler by a brook doth lie ; 

Upon his hook, a painted fly ; 
A dream s soft shadow in his eye. 
Thus, like a charmed prince he seems, 
Destined a glorious prize to win, 
Which, like a jewelled javelin, 
Poised, as in air, on quivering fin 
Before his vision gleams. 

With purest blue, the blissful sky 
Pavilions him right royally. 
Sometimes an oriole flames on high ; 
A bee, impetuous, sparkles by ; 
A bobolink, ecstatic, flings 
Bubbles of music down the air ; 
And so he gathers everywhere 
From realms of ease, all joys most rare, 
Like pearls on silken strings. 



100 THE REBEL FLOWER. 



THE REBEL FLOWER. 

\ CROSS the garden paths she led 
^"^ Her Tory guest, with stately tread ; 
A Boston beauty in her prime, 
With courage equal to the time 
That tried men s souls, her loyal heart 
Cried out against the craven part 
It was her irksome fate to play 
As courteous hostess on that day. 

A gracious, gallant air he wore, 
A gracious, gallant rank he bore, 
This Tory guest, yet well she knew 
Beneath the air, the rank, perdue, 
A crafty treacherous purpose hid, 
As poisons lurked beneath the lid 
Of jewelled caskets long ago, 
When every friend might prove a foe. 



THE REBEL FLOWER. IOI 

The garden beds were gay with bloom, 
Fair treasures which have given room 
Long since at Fashion s stern decree 
To splendors from across the sea. 
For close beside the stately rose, 
No tyranny can e er depose, 
The sturdy camomile did lift 
Its myriad blossoms snowy drift. 

" What flower is this ? " The Tory guest 

Half paused to ask in idle quest. 

A moment s thought, then sweet and clear, 

"The Rebel flower, we call it here," 

She answered him, this Boston dame 

Of lovely mien and rebel fame. 

" How s this ? " he laughed ; and laughing sent 

A keen look at the fair face bent 

In modest musing on the flower 

She d newly named within that hour. 

" How s this, sweet dame, and why, pray tell, 

So fair a flower a name so fell 

Should win and wear?" A swift smile sped 

Across her face, then slow she said, 



102 THE REBEL FLOWER. 

" Because, my lord, this flower that s won 
Your meed of praise, when trampled on, 

Springs from the dust and thrives anew 
In fresher vigor than it knew 
Before such blows of fortune came, 
Thus rightly winning name and fame." 
" Ah, ha ! " laughed out the Tory guest 
At this bold speech, " a pretty jest 
I faith, sweet dame, and bravely said. 
When next we meet, perhaps a tread 

Of weightier heels may have crushed out 
These boasted claims, and put to rout 
Your rebel flowers till name and fame 
Are lost beneath the dust of shame." 
She laughed him back, with laughter born 
Of gay disdain and sparkling scorn. 
" When next, we meet, my lord," she said, 
" This rebel flower will lift its head 

In lustier vigor than before, 
And name and fame for evermore 
Shall flourish bravely in the land 
Despite th oppressors heel or hand ! " 



THE REBEL FLOWER. 103 

When next they met, my lord had laid 
His sword beneath the rebel blade, 
And she who prophesied the fate 
Of British valor, stood in state 
On British soil, an honored guest, 
Wearing upon her lovely breast, 
In smiling triumph for that hour, 
A posy called " The Rebel Flower ! " 



104 THE BRIDE OF WAR. 



THE BRIDE OF WAR. 
(ARNOLD S MARCH TO CANADA, I775-) 

I. 

"TpHE trumpet with a giant sound 

Its harsh war-summons wildly sings ; 
And, bursting forth like mountain springs, 
Poured from the hillside camping-ground, 

Each swift battalion shouting flings 
Its force into line. Then you may see 
The men, broad-shouldered, heavily 
Sway to the swing of the inarch, their heads 
Dark like the stones in river-beds. 

Lightly the autumn breezes 
Play with the shining dust-cloud 
Rising to the sunset rays 
From feet of the moving column. 
Soft, as you listen, comes 
The echo of iterant drums, 



THE BRIDE OF WAR. 105 

Brought by the breezes light 

From the files that follow the road. 

A moment their guns have glowed 

Sun-smitten ; then out of sight 

They suddenly sink, 

Like men who touch a new grave s brink ! 

II. 

So it was the march began, 

The march of Morgan s riflemen, 

Who like iron held the van 

In unhappy Arnold s plan 

To win Wolfe s daring fame again. 

With them, by her husband s side, 

Jemima Warner, nobly free, 
Moved more fair than when, a bride, 
One year since she strove to hide 

The blush it was a joy to see. 

Strangely sounds this name of woman, 
Crude and cold, Jemima Warner; 

Yet the shrill-blown trumpets summon 
Her to lead this antique story : 



106 THE BRIDE OF WAR. 



Not in guise of hero-mourner, 

Nor as one who loved a foeman, 
But a dauntless peril-scorner 
Whose calm strength was more than glory. 

III. 

O distant, terrible forests of Maine, 
With huge trees numberless as the rain 

That striketh your lonely lakes ! 
(It strikes and sings through the years, but wakes 
No answering echo of joy or pain.) 

Your tangled wilderness was tracked 

By the doers of many a treacherous act, 

Puritan, pagan, and priest : 
Where wolf and panther and serpent ceased, 
Man added the horrors your dark maze lacked. 

Like the fretting of worms on withered wood, 
The land was scarred with deeds not good. 

What if its venomous spell 
Breathed into Arnold a prompting of Hell, 
With slow empoisoning force indued ? 



THE BRIDE OF WAR. 1 07 

As through that dreary realm he went, 
Followed a shape of dark portent : 
Pard-like, of furtive eye, with brain 
To treason narrowing, Aaron Burr 
Moved loyal-seeming in the train 
Led by the arch-conspirator. 
And craven Enos 1 closed the rear, 
Whose honor s flame died out in fear. 
Not sooner does the dry bough burn 
And into fruitless ashes turn, 
Than he with whispered, false command 
Flung back the hundreds in his hand, 
Fled like a shade, and all forsook. 
Wherever Arnold bent his look 
Danger and doubt around him hung ; 
And pale Disaster, shrouded, flung 
Black omens in his track, as though 
The fingers of a future woe 
Already clutched his life, to wring 
S.pme expiation for the thing 
That he was yet to do. A chill 
Struck helpless many a steadfast will 
Within the ranks ; the very air 
Rang with a thunder-toned despair ; 



See Note at the end of the poem. 



108 THE BRIDE OF WAR. 



And round them, lost in drifts of snow, 
The hills like blind guides seemed to go ! 



IV. 

Yet still devout, through loss and doubt, 
One woman s loyal heart whose pain 
Filled it with white celestial light 
Shone starry-constant like the North, 

And sacred like a fane. 
But he whose ring Jemima wore, 
By want and weariness all unstrung, 
Though strong and honest of heart and young, 
Shrank at the blast that pierced so frore 
Like a huge, invisible bird of prey 
Furious launch d from Labrador 
And the granite cliffs of Saguenay ! 
Along the bleak Dead River s banks 
They forced amain their frozen way; 
But ever from the thinning ranks 
Shapes of ice would reel and fall, 
Human shapes, whose dying prayer 
Floated, a mute white mist, in air; 
The crowding snow their pall. 



THE BRIDE OF WAR. 1 09 

Spectre-like, Famine drew near : 

Her doom-word hummed in his ear, 

And the sounds of life grew fewer 

As she drew him closer to her. 

Ah, weak were woman s hands to reach 

And save him from the hellish charms 

And wizard motion of those arms ! 

Yet only noble womanhood 

The wife her dauntless part could teach : 

She shared with him the last dry food 

And thronged with hopefulness her speech, 

As when hard by her home the flood 

Of rushing Conestoga fills 

Its depth afresh from springtide rills ! 

All, all in vain ! 

For far behind the invading rout 

These two were left alone ; 
And in the waste their wildest shout 

Seemed but a smothered groan. 
Like sheeted wanderers from the grave 
They moved, and yet seemed not to stir, 
As icy gorge and sere-leaf d grove 
Of withered oak and shrouded fir 



1 10 THE BRIDE OF WAR. 

Were passed and onward still they strove, 
While the loud wind s artillery clave 
The air, and furious sleety rain 
Swung like a sword above the plain ! 

V. 

They crossed the hills ; they came to where 
Through an arid gloom the river Chaudiere 
Fled like a Maenad with outstreamin hair ; 

O J 

And there the soldier sank, and died. 

Death-dumb he fell, yet ere life sped, 
Child-like on her knee he laid his head. 
She strove to pray ; but all words fted 
Save those their love had sanctified. 

And then her voice rose waveringly 

To the notes of a mother s lullaby ; 

But her song was only " Ah, must thou die { " 

And to her his eyes death-still replied. 

VI. 

Dead leaves and stricken boughs 
She heaped o er the fallen form : 



THE BRIDE OF WAR. I I I 

Wolf nor hawk nor lawless storm 

Him from his rest should rouse : 

But first, with solemn vows, 

Took rifle, pouch, and horn, 

And the belt that he had worn. 

For, widowed and unhappy evermore, 

She gave herself to be the bride of war. 

Then, onward pressing fast 

Through the forest rude and vast 

Hunger-wasted, fever-parch d 

Many bitter days she marched 

With bleeding feet that spurned the flinty pain ; 

One thought always throbbing through her brain : 

" They shall never say, He was afraid, 

They shall never cry, The coward stayed /" 

Now the wilderness is passed ; 
Now the first hut reached, at last. 

Ho, dwellers by the frontier trail, 
Come forth and greet the bride of war ! 
From cabin and from settlement 
They come to speed her on her way : 
Maidens, whose ruddy cheeks grow pale 



112 THE BRIDE OF WAR. 

With pity never felt before ; 
Children that cluster at the door ; 
Mothers, whose toil-worn hands are lent 
To help, or bid her longer stay. 
But through them all she passes on, 
Strangely martial, fair and wan ; 
Nor waits to listen to their cheers 
That sound so faintly in her ears. 
For now all scenes around her shift 
Like those before a racer s eyes 
When, foremost sped and madly swift, 
Forth stretching toward the goal he flies, 
Yet feels his strength wane with his breath 
And purpose fail mid fears of death ; 
Till, like the flashing of a lamp, 
Starts forth the sight of Arnold s camp. 

Then to the leader she is brought 

The man who wronged his country s trust - 

And speaks her grandly loyal thought 

That should have bowed him in the dust : 

" Your rifle-bearer on the way 

Perished, but I come to say 

His faith is kept with you to-day ! " 



THE BRIDE OF WAR. 113 

Herald of the brave in story, 

Let the poet proudly summon 
Honor for Jemima Warner, 
For the fearless peril-scorner ; 

Honor for the high-souled woman 
Whose calm strength was more than glory ! 



NOTE TO PAGE 107. Colonel Enos, of Connecticut, com 
manded the rear guard, consisting of eight hundred men, in this 
terrible march, and deserted his chief, with the whole force con 
fided to him, while the expedition was struggling through the 
wilderness in the Dead River region. 



1 4 FROM HERZEGO VINA . 



FROM HERZEGOVINA. 

~^HERE were some forty men of us, strong men and 

young together, 
Went marching up the mountain-side that glorious 

August weather ; 
All four by four and step by step, with carabine to 

shoulder, 
And girt with glittering yatagans Ho! never a band 

was bolder ! 
Our blood-red tassels switched our ears, blood-stained 

our white apparel ; 
We feasted on the wild goats flesh, and drank strong 

wine by barrel ; 
And flushed it forth like fire, and sang and shouted out 

in chorus, 
And swore by all God s sacraments, holding his cross 

before us, 



FROM HERZEGOVINA. 115 

Each one that he was Freedom s son and every one a 

brother, 
And each to the sun discharged his gun and manlike 

kiss d the other; 
And hand to hand, and breast to breast, that glorious 

August weather, 
We swore to hunt the Turk and feast and drink and die 

together. 

For forty days and forty nights we rattled on like 

thunder, 
And shot the damned Turk dogs down no man of us 

fell under ! 
For forty days and forty nights with long moustaches 

flying, 
We hurled the Turk from crag to crag no Christian 

dreamed of dying ! 
For forty days the vines and maize were blazing with 

our fire, 
And four by four and step by step we strode on higher 

and higher. 
One day we came on a chestnut grove and chose it out 

for nooning, 
Our heads were wreathed up from the sun as if we 

came from pruning ; 



1 1 6 FROM HERZEGO VINA. 

Cool strawberry plants grew all about ; bright blue, 

between the branches, 
You could not say which was blue bay or blue sky 

where it blanches ; 
For everywhere were simmering air and slumbering 

slopes of heather ; 
And farther away one reek yet lay and a white sail 

faint as a feather. 

We stretched our bare limbs in the moss, our hot 

things on the thickets, 
And all was still on shore and hill, except the ceaseless 

crickets, 
No bird was heard and no leaf stirr d and no one 

dreamed of battle, 
When quick a white flame quivered past, the jays 

whirled out, and a rattle 
Of bullets crackled against the twigs, and, snatching 

our guns in wonder, 
We found our youngest clawing the ground, his left 

lung shot asunder. 
For forty days and forty nights each man was like a 

mother ; 
We made a litter of tender boughs, each one relieved 

the other ; 



FROM HERZEGOVINA, I I/ 

We gave him all we had, and hard we fought our way 

and bore him 
Both night and day the slippery way, though nothing 

could restore him. 
He lay like lead upon our hearts, like dead upon our 

shoulder, 
His joints were rotting in the thews and no corpse 

could be colder. 
At last one murmured: "Tis no use. The Turks 

are pressing faster, 
We had better slay him from his pain than wait a worse 

disaster." 
It must have been his heart that heard God knows ! 

He muttered : " Hear me. 

" My comrades, I ve no fear of Death, tis death who 

seems to fear me ! 
So take me to the highest ground where grows the 

golden heather, 
The wind and light are brighter there than all one s life 

together. 
And let me die there as God wills and leave me where 

you lay me, 
And may my dead curse doubly strike whoever dares 

gainsay me ! 



I 1 8 FROM HERZEGO VINA. 

And further yet I pray of you, even to the last brother 
The Turks may spare, that you shall bear no tidings to 

my mother. 
She stands her distaff in her hands among them at the 

fountain, 
And sighs that old sad sigh of hers, and looks up at the 

mountain. 
Above them shakes the mulberry-tree I have climbed 

with many a fellow; 
About the top I ve cut my name the leaves must now 

be yellow. 
She must not know how matters go ; her poor old hands 

are hoary ; 

It can t be long, so let her die still dreaming of my glory. 
And bid her work the white stuff done she has spun 

against I marry ; 
And say I Ve joined the Servian men, and say she must 

not tarry." 



RUNNING THE BLOCKADE. 1 19 



RUNNING THE BLOCKADE. 

A CHASE IN SOUNDINGS. 

T TILL OA-HOA ! the falcon and swallow, 

Yo-hoicks the fox and the hound ; 
As if you could hear the long, four-footed, hollow 
Reverberate beat on the ground, 
And feel yourself swing in the saddle, 
At the fore-shoulder s reach in the straddle, 
As the hunter comes up to the bound. 

Hove in the stays, she lay, 

In the blockading grounds, 

Of the North Carolina sounds, 

Beleaguered half a day, 

The good ship HEIR OF LYNN : 

The still air shut her in 

The very focus of light ; 

Where the sea grows hot and white, 



120 RUNNING THE BLOCKADE. 

As if it had turned to salt 
Or solid rock, with a fault 
That clipped the horizon s edge 
In a long, irregular ledge. 

In the summer of 63, 
As still as they could be 
The sea and air ; and every 
.Spar lost in a reverie 
Over its shadow, under 
The sea, in curious wonder. 
Not a cat s-paw turned the streamer, 
To spell at it letter by letter ; 
And for fifty leagues and better, 
You could see the smoke of a steamer 
Drifting down in the offing. 

You could hear the sullen coughing, 
Over sixty miles away, 
At Wilmington harbor and bay, 
The pounding of cannon and mortar, 
And the groan of torpedoes under 
The sea, that came over her quarter, 
Like the bellow of smothered thunder. 



RUNNING THE BLOCKADE. 121 

Uneasily looked the master 

Now at the sea, and then 

Off in a dream again 

Of home, as the boa s in cast her 

Dipsy * lead in the shallow, 

To a sort of nasal tune, 

Larded with talk and tallow, 

In the bight of the afternoon ; 

Drawling from sea-worn topics, 

To sudden squalls in the tropics ; 

And lee shores whose hot lips 

Had opened and swallowed ships, 

Till the slow talk seemed to pool 

In the old Annapolis school ; 

And the master was " Joe " again, 

With his messmate, Geordie of Maine, 

Who loved, with loves like his own, 

Sweethearts they never had won 

Like the small blue flowers that live but a day, 

Sweet things, in the inlets of Chesapeake bay. 

The skies got bluer and bluer, 
Till the far-off gunboat knew her, 
* Deep-sea. 



122 RUNNING THE BLOCKADE. 

And came up, hand over hand, 
With a rushing, like falling sand, 
Of the coils of her screw propeller, 
Like the rifles that twist out her shell, or 
The leverage fold and grapple 
Of the sinewy boa-constrictor, 
While her stem peeled the scum as an apple, 
And the plunge of her steam beat the drums of a 
victor. 

But, like omens in viscera, 

Old Romans sought for ; 

As the stars fought with Sisera, 

Faster and faster, 

And over and past her, 

Swirled the cone of the cyclone and fought her. 

It touched the sails of the schooner, 
The turn of a sandglass sooner ; 
And, breaking in sudden bloom, 
From her foretop studding-sail, 
Aft to her spanker-boom, 
Down to her channel rail, 



RUNNING THE BLOCKADE. 123 

Fore to her flying jibs ; 
Like a lily when it buds 
She flowers out of her ribs, 
White as the salt-sea seeds ; 
Bobbing about, like a cup. 
Then a shout, and the hunt is up. 

Hilloa-hoa ! the falcon and swallow, 

Yo-hoicks ! the fox and the hound ; 

As if you could hear the long, four-footed, hollow 

Reverberate beat of the ground, 

And feel yourself swing in the saddle, 

At the fore-shoulder s reach in the straddle, 

As the hunter comes up to the bound. 

" A lee shore and a squall ! 
There s but one of them all," 
As he steamed within hail, 
Said the Gunboat commander, 
" Of all that I know, 
That would dare carry sail 
To beach her and land her, 
Annapolis Joe." 



124 RUNNING THE BLOCKADE. 

As swivels of hail 

Beat tattoo on the sail, 

And he looked on the sea, 

Where tempests unchain 

Reefs hid in white rain ; 

" You 11 want boots to follow me 

All night," said the master, 

" With your wrought-iron roster, 

Old Geordie of Maine." 



Ship ahoy ! Heave to ! 
The wind seemed to wrestle 
With steam in the vessel, 
Elastic and pliant, 
And wrench the propeller 
With the strength of a giant, 
As if to compel her 
To shrink from the danger, 
Her keel timbers ran on : 
But .grimly defiant, 
And louder and louder, 
In the bursting of powder, 
Spoke the lips of her cannon. 



RUNNING THE BLOCKADE. 12$ 

Hitloa-hoa ! the falcon and swallow, 

Yo-hoicks ! the fox and the hound ; 

As if you could hear the long, four-footed, hollow 

Reverberate beat on the ground, 

And feel yourself swing in the saddle, 

At the fore-shoulder 1 s reach in the straddle, 

As the hunter comes up to the bound. 

" It s Joe to be sure," 

Said the naval commander, 

" And he s got a king s ransom of stores in his keel ; 

I 11 sink her or land her 

Rawbones on a leeshore, 

To feed the Sound fishes on his powder and steel." 

A reef rose between, 

Where the keel of the sea seemed to jib and careen, 

And pitch on its beam ends, 

About which the water ran smooth with vehemence, 

Like the gates of a lock when its hinges are swung, 

And the bore of the current shoots out in a tongue. 

But, taut and close-lasted, 

From keelson to mast head ; 



126 RUNNING THE BLOCKADE. 

Spanker vangs to sprit-sail-yards, 

And flying jib-boom, 

As true to her halyards 

As belle of the room 

When her feet, to the click of the castanets clipping, 

Make rhymes to the music s adagios tripping, 

As dangerously quick as Herodias daughter, 

While the wind kissed her lacings and whipped round 

her quarter, 

And pitch-piped its bagpipes as shrill as a demon, 
The sloop felt her tiller ; 
Double banked her propeller ; 
And rushed at the sluice with a full head of steam on. 

Hilloa-hoa ! the falcon and swallow, 
Yo-hoicks ! the fox and the hound ; 
As if you could hear the long, four-footed, hollow 
Reverberate beat on the ground, 
And feel yourself swing in the saddle, 
At the fore-shoulder s reach in the straddle, 
As the hunter comes up to the bound. 

But the fugitive ship, 
Like a wild thing at bay, 



RUNNING THE BLOCKADE. 127 

That will double and slip 
From corner to panel, 
Like a fox, stole away. 
The nips of the channel, 
In shoulder and knee, 
Seemed to rise and bend over her ; 
The bellowing sea, 
To open and cover her ; 
And where the surf plunges 
Through coral and sponges 
In slings of the wind as light as a feather, 
To rove the blue phosphorus frost in her shrouds, 
The burst of the clouds, 

Mixed the sea and the sand and the sky altogether, 
And the welkin cracked open with terrible brightening, 
Till the bed of the sea seemed to bristle with light 
ning ; 

And over, and under 
The clamor of waves, pealed the toll of the thunder. 

Hilloa-hoa ! the falcon and swallow, 
Yo-hoicks ! the fox and the hound ; 
As if you could hear the long, four-footed, hollow 
Reverberate beat on the ground, 



128 RUNNING THE BLOCKADE. 

And feel yourself swing in the saddle, 

At th? fore-shoulder* s reach in the straddle, 

As the hunter comes up to the bound. 

So, all through the night, in the darkness they grope. 
In the wash of the water, and swish of the spray, 
Clung the sloop to the chase, as if towed by a rope, 
Till the morning gun slipped it, at breaking of day. 
Tira la, sang the bugles, a fox stole away ! 
Stole away ; stole away : stole away ; stole away : 
Tira la sang the bugles a fox stole away. 

In Wilmington town, there s a ringing of bells 
As the people go down, to see her come in, 
With her flag at the forepeak, as every one tells 
Of the old ballad luck of the ship HEIR OF LYNN. 

If you ever meet Josey, or Geordie of Maine, 
You will run the chase over in soundings again. 



THE RHONE CRADLE. 129 



THE RHONE CRADLE. 

(A VIGNETTE OF TRAVEL.) 

nr*HIS is the fair bed of the infant Rhone, 

A cradle broad with fruits and sunshine strown, 
A dreamy valley guarded by tall shapes 
They call the Alps ; where miles of clustering grapes, 
Purple of eye, in leafy garments green 
Load down the hills, that near and nearer lean 
To watch the rushing river and the small 
Traffic of men close under that scarred wall 
Of some free-booting baron s ancient tower. 
Gone are the baron and his murderous power, 
And like some uncouth beast of earliest time 
The gray bones of the ruined castle climb 
The steep, yet utterly inert remain, 
A fossil record, which the years disdain 
To wipe away. Here once the Caesar bore 
His Roman eagle above the icy roar 

Of mountain-torrents. 

9 



130 THE RHONE CRADLE. 

Many centuries passed ; 
But Gaul sent forth her eagle, at the last : 
Napoleon s iron hand cut out a path 
Across the rocky Simplon ; poured his wrath 
From out the clouds ; and where the deep gorge breaks 
Through caverned gloom, to reach the Lombard lakes, 
His legions swept to Italy, to Rome, 
The conqueror s goal, the world-subduer s home. 

Lo, whatsoe er befall or tribe or town, 

The growing river still flows broadening down, 

Not otherwise than when it first began ; 

Still young, still wild, though many a white-hair d man 

Hath laid him down beside its foamy bank, 

Nor ever risen again from where he sank. 

Child Rhone, thy course is marked by death and woe : 

Wilt thou thus swift and laughing always go ? 



JOHN CARMAN. 131 



JOHN CARMAN. 

TOHN Carman of Carmantown 

Worked hard through the longest day ; 
He drove his awl and he snapped his thread, 
And he had but little to say. 

He had but little to say 

Except to a neighbor s child : 
Three summers old she was, and her eyes 

Had a look that was deep and wild. 

Her hair was heavy and brown, 

Like clouds in a starry night. 
She came and sat by the cobbler s bench, 

And his soul was filled with delight. 

No kith nor kin had he, 

And he never went gadding about 
A strange, shy man, the people said, 

And they could not make him out. 



132 JOHN CARMAN. 

And some of them shook their heads, 
And wouldn t tell what they d heard. 

But he drove his awl and snapped his thread, 
And he always kept his word. 

And the little child that knew him 

Better than all the rest, 
She threw her arms around his neck 

And went to sleep on his breast. 

One day in that dreadful summer 
When children died by the score, 

John Carman glanced from his work and saw 
Her mother there at the door. 

He knew by the look in her face, 
And his own on a sudden turned white. 

He rose from his bench and followed her out, 
And watched by the child that night. 

He tended her day and night ; 

He watched by her night and day : 
He saw the cruel pain in her eyes ; 

He saw her lips turn gray. 



JOHN CARMAN. 133 

The day that the child was buried, 

John Carman went back to his last 
And the neighbors said that for weeks and weeks 

Not a word his clenched lips passed. 

" He takes it hard," they gossiped. 

" Poor man, he s lacking in wit." 
" I 11 drop in, to-day," said Deacon Gray, 

" And comfort him up a bit." 

So Deacon Gray dropped in 

With a kind and neighborly air ; 
And before he left, he kneeled on the floor, 

And wrestled with God in prayer. 

And he said : " O Lord, thou hast stricken 

This child in its babyhood : 
In Thy own way, we beseech and pray, 

Bring forth from evil good." 

That night the fire-bells rang, 

And the flames shot up to the sky, 
And into the street, as pale as a sheet, 

The town-folk flock and cry. 



134 JOHN CARMAN. 

The bells ring loud and long; 

The flames leap high and higher ; 
The rattling engines come too late : 

The old First Church is on fire ! 

And lo and behold, in the lurid glare 
They see John Carman stand, 

A look of mirth on his iron lips, 
And a blazing torch in his hand. 

" You say it was He who killed her " 
(His voice had a fearful sound) : 

" I d have you know, who worship Him so, 
I Ve burned His house to the ground." 



John Carman died in prison, 
In the madman s cell, they say ; 

And of his crime, that I Ve told in rhyme, 
Heaven cleanse his soul, I pray ! 



A PREACH EX. 135 



A PREACHER. 

" A ND oh, my friends," the Preacher said, "beware, 
However smooth and tempting seems the path, 
With bowers of cooling shade, the end is wrath ; 
Here tis unsafe, that s dangerous footing there : 
But follow me and have no further care ; 

I 11 be your staff, for I am one that hath 
Lived long and gathered in life s aftermath 
Experience. I bid you not despair ; 
Reach me your hands and cast away all doubt ; 
I 11 lead you safe along the glacier s shelf : 

You say tis dark ? Tis noonday, I insist ; 
Besides, I know each pitfall hereabout, 

I know each chasm " just then the Preacher s self 
Stumbled and plunged into eternal mist. 



OCTOBER SUNDAY. 



OCTOBER SUNDAY. 

T TERE are mellow October days; 

Through my open window the organ plays 
Out of the church across the road, 
Leaves and people thickly strowed ; 
Those have done with every season, 
These still live and seek the reason. 

Organ-breath has drawn them in, 
Souls that in an eddy spin, 
Lifted upward from the clay : 
In the road the leaves at play 
Spin without the sap of passion, 
Faded tints of Nature s fashion. 

And what the organ says they drown, 
Past my window whirling down 
In sere pretence of keeping tryst ; 
So some bars of chords I ve missed ; 



OCTOBER SUNDAY. 137 

Now the wind has caught the strain 
And drops the leaves, and listens fain : 
For the souls a sweet wind borrow 
To intone of earth s to-morrow. 

When the road is still I hear, 

Like crushed grapes, the notes of cheer ; 

When from these million tongues of leaves 

The wind dead Pentecost receives, 

I wait, the organ builds the while ; 

Twixt me and the eternal smile 

A scurry flits : but, tone-piers sinking, 

Psalmward across I go unshrinking. 



THE UNSEEN PREACHER. 



THE UNSEEN PREACHER. 

TTE spoke of souls that stooped and sinned, 

Of hearts that turned to roam ; 
He spoke of human restlessness, 
Of exile and of home, 

Of earth s eternal vagrancies. 

" O slow ! " he cried, " to start 
And throw thy truant childhood back 

Upon thy Father s heart. 

" That life must walk uncomforted, 

That leans not on His breast : 
They only know that God is Love 

Who learn that God is Rest." 

He spoke, and on his lifted face 

The prophet s halo crept : 
Like reeds within his outstretched hands, 

The people bowed, and wept. 



THE UNSEEN PREACHER. 139 

But in the chancel s solemn shade, 

She saw a glamour sweet. 
" Beloved ! " said she, " was it you 

Fled by with flashing feet ; 

" Across the holy desk and book, 

Beside the holy man, 
Swift as a thought, and silent as 

Only the vanished can ; 

" Passed and stood listening, poised there, 

All in a dream of light, 
Paused to attend the sacred Word 

As only a spirit might ? 

" As angels must, then, pity me, 

So tempted and so blessed ! 
And teach me how, O loved and lost, 

To go to Him for rest ! 

"Oh teach me how, when any world, 

Or dark, or bright, or dim, 
Containeth thee, to give my first, 

My best of love to Him ! " 



CHILDREN S SONG. 



CHILDREN S SONG. 

"JVTOW the trees are on the air, 

Now the flowers are in the vale, 
Now the earth shows sweet and fair 
As our mother s tale. 

Bright is every violet s eye, 
Yellow-deep the cowslip hues, 
Where the wide-winged butterfly 
Feeds herself with dews. 

But the rising wind away 
Turns the flower-bells bending low, 
And the thunder-clouds do say 
. Their sublimest now. 

Leaps the flashing sword of light, 
Rushes breeze and hisses rain ; 
Yet the trees are laughing bright 
At the watery gain. 



AMY MARGARET. 141 



AMY MARGARET. 

A MY Margaret s five years old ; 
Amy Margaret s hair is gold ; 
Dearer twenty thousand fold 

Than gold is Amy Margaret ! 

Amy is friend is Margaret 
The pearl for crown or carcanet ! 
Or peeping daisy. Summer s pet ? 
Which are you, Amy Margaret ? 

A friend, a daisy, and a pearl, 
A kindly, simple, precious girl, 
Such, howsoe er the world may twirl, 
Be ever, Amy Margaret ! 



142 "MY HEART, I CANNOT STILL IT. 



"MY HEART, I CANNOT STILL IT." 

I. 

heart, I cannot still it, 
Is a nest with song-birds in it ; 

And when the last shall go, 

The dreary days, to fill it, 

Instead of lark or linnet 

Will bring dead leaves and snow. 

II. 

And were they sparrows only, 
Without the passion stronger 
Of joy that soars and sings, 
Woe s me, I shall be lonely 
When I can feel no longer 
The impatience of their wings ! 



THE ROBIN S SONG. 143 



w 



THE ROBIN S SONG. 

HEN the willows gleam along the brooks, 

And the grass grows green in sunny nooks, 
In the sunshine and the rain, 
I hear the robins in the lane 
Singing, " Cheerily 

Cheer up cheer up ; 
Cheerily, cheerily 
Cheer up." 

But the snow is still 
Along the walls and on the hill. 
The days are cold, the nights forlorn, 
For one is here and one is gone. 
" Tut, tut. Cheerily 

Cheer up, cheer up ; 
Cheerily, cheerily 
Cheer up ! " 



144 THE ROBING SONG. 

When spring hopes seem to wane, 
I hear the joyful strain 
A song at night, a song at morn. 
A lesson deep to me is borne, 
Hearing, " Cheerily 

Cheer up, cheer up ; 
Cheerily, cheerily 
Cheer up." 



THEOCRITUS. 145 



THEOCRITUS. 

A Y ! Unto thee belong 
The pipe and song, 
Theocritus, 

Loved by the satyr and the faun ! 
To thee the olive and the vine, 
To thee the Mediterranean pine, 
And the soft lapping sea ! 
Thine, Bacchus, 
Thine, the blood-red revels, 
Thine, the bearded goat ! 
Soft valleys unto thee, 
And Aphrodite s shrine, 
And maidens veiled in falling robes of lawn ! 
But unto us, to us, 
The stalwart glories of the North ; 
Ours is the sounding main, 
And ours the voices uttering forth 
By midnight round these cliffs a mighty strain 
A tale of viewless islands in the deep 
Washed by the waves white fire ; 



1 46 THE O CRITUS. 



Of mariners rocked asleep 

In the great cradle, far from Grecian ire 

Of Neptune and his train ; 

To us, to us, 

The dark-leaved shadow and the shining birch, 

The flight of gold through hollow woodlands driven, 

Soft dying of the year with many a sigh, 

These, all, to us are given ! 

And eyes that eager evermore shall search 

The hidden seed, and searching find again 

Unfading blossoms of a fadeless spring ; 

These, these, to us ! 

The sacred youth and maid, 

Coy and half afraid ; 

The sorrowful earthly pall, 

Winter and wintry rain, 

And Autumn s gathered grain, 

With whispering music in their fall ; 

These unto us ! 

And unto thee, Theocritus, 

To thee, 

The immortal childhood of the world, 

The laughing waters of an inland sea, 

And beckoning signal of a sail unfurled ! 



MEDALLION HEADS. 147 



MEDALLION HEADS. 

(IN SIX SONNETS.) 

I. 

SASKIA. 

r I ^HE lovely Friesland maiden whom the pride 

Inherent in her old patrician race, 
Forbade not to renounce her birthright s place, 
And seek her marriage bliss at Rembrandt s side, 
Had recompense to Friesland s best denied : 
For, never wearying of the auroral grace 
Of Northern lights that flashed about her face, 
He, for all time, her beauty glorified. 

Her soul lies mute on each Madonna s mouth ; 
Her blonde hair floats across Bathsheba s breasts ; 
Her mingled snow-and-roses kindle up 
Susannah s cheeks; as Hagar in her drouth, 
She droops ; and mid Ahasuerus guests, 
She sits, Queen Esther with the jewelled cup. 



MEDALLION HEADS. 



II. 
LA FORNARINA. 

WHO can believe that he was thralled by this ? 
This creature wrought of flesh not over fine, 
With brazen brow, and mouth whose sensual line 
Holds no red sting of rapture in its kiss ? 
This splendid animal, for whom life is 
Mere pleased existence, pagan, undivine, 
Without a glimpse of soul, without a sign 
That she could fathom the soundless depths of his ? 

We see the legend on her armlet traced, 

" Raphael Urbinas : " yet deny that one 

So born for love, so gracious, calm, and sweet, 

So like a glad Greek god with beauty graced, 

Could yield to toils by such Calypsos spun, 

Could stoop at such an earthly woman s feet ! 



MEDALLION HEADS. 149 



III. 
FRAU AGNES. 

FROM page to page they still repeat the wrong, 
How Agnes, with her shrewish marriage-ways, 
Saddened the gentle Nuremberger s days, 
Until the silken tie became a thong 
Wherewith she pinioned him in bondage strong ; 
Vet who can lay his finger on a phrase 
That proves it so ? or cite a word s dispraise 
Of her, his true housereckoner, x all life long ? 

One spiteful line has furnished forth the stuff 

Whose hempen coil has strangled the fair name 

Thus filched from Albrecht s wife, the centuries through ; 

For if the love she gave was not enough, 

Or if his bosom nursed some fonder flame 

That perished, surely Agnes never knew. 

1 Diirer s playful designation, in his letters, of his wife. 



150 MEDALLION HEADS. 



IV. 
LUCREZIA. 

THE pretty fool s face, with its white and red, 
Its perfect oval, its bewitching pout, 
The nimbus-shine of shimmering hair about 
The Dian curve of brow, the well-poised head, 
The rare-ripe, melting form, the princess tread, 
All lured his artist nature to devout 
Love for a siren, who that Art could scout 
And barter for the gold it brought, instead. 

Senza errori : Florence so did call 

The Master Michael loved, and Raphael praised : 

But when Lucrezia breathed her blighting breath 

Across his faultless canvas, thenceforth all 

His genius seemed to shrivel, till, hopeless, crazed, 

His life s mistake found sole redress in death. 



MEDALLION HEADS. 151 



V. 
VITTORIA COLONNA. 

SERENE and sad and still, she sat apart 

In widowed saintliness, un unvowed nun, 

Whose duty to the world without was done ; 

And yet concealing with unselfish art, 

The scars of grief, the pangs of loss, the smart 

Of pain, she suffered not herself to shun 

The hurt, and bruised, and wronged, who one by one 

Sought sanctuary of her cloistered heart. 

But to that loneliest soul who found in her 
His type of womanhood supremest set, 
And knew not whether he should kneel or no, 
Such sweet, strange comfort did she minister, 
That, were this deed her all, the world would yet 
Have loved her for the love of Angelo ! 



152 MEDALLION HEADS. 



VI. 

QUENTIN MATSYS BRIDE. 

AN artist s daughter, she, a toiler, he, 

At the grim forge : all Antwerp well might stare 

Upon him as a madman, that he dare 

Aspire to hope, in face of the decree 

Passed by parental pride, that none should be 

Received as suitor who should fail to bear 

In hand his own true work a picture rare 

Enough to prove his worth of such as she. 

Yet nothing is impossible to Love : 

Soon through the city rang the cry abroad, 

" Behold the miracle of Mats ys saint!" 

Blind Genius felt Art s touch, as of a god, 

Had faith, and saw! And tableted above 

Him still we read : "Love taught the smith to paint." 1 

1 " Connubialis amor de Mulcibre fecit Apellem." 

Inscription on the CatJiedral wall at A ntwerp. 



RED TAPE. 153 



RED TAPE. 

"XT THAT countless years, what wealth of brain were 

** spent 

To bring us hither from our caves and huts, 
And trace through pathless wilds the patient ruts 
Of Faith and Habit, by whose deep indent 
Prudence may guide if genius be not lent, 
Genius not always happy when it shuts 
Its ears against the Plodder s ifs and buts, 
Thinking by some brave leap to snatch the event! 
The coursers of the sun, whose hoofs of flame 
Burn through morn s misty threshold, are exact 
As bankers clerks, and all this star-poised frame, 
Self-willed allowed, were with convulsion rackt : 
The world would end, were Dulness not, to tame 
Wit s feathered heels in the stern stocks of fact. 



*54 / LOVE TO DINE. 



I LOVE TO DINE. 

[RONDEAU.] 

LOVE to dine when stains the sky one slender 

Long line of wintry sunset; to the fender 
My back in close proximity; the/^ 
Before me : I can watch the dying day, 
And feel assured that the rbti is tender. 

I can dine on a dollar and the lender : 
A haunch of venison, whosoe er the sender : 
On general principles, yes, I may say 
I love to dine. 

But most, when vis-a-vis the opposite gender 
Is represented, with the repast to blend her 
Dear personality ; when in one puree 
Our spirits mingle. Ah, that is the way 
When Love to Savarin stoops in sweet surrender, 
I love to dine. 



THE BEAU OF THE TOWN. 155 



THE BEAU OF THE TOWN. 



T TE once was young and gay 

** A beau. 

(Ah, that was long ago ! ) 

To-day 
He is very old and gray. 



His clothes were once the best 

His tile 
Was at the top of style ; 

His vest 
Was flowered upon his breast. 

He then was tall and slim ; 

His eye 
Made all the maidens sigh 

For him 
One of the Cherubim ! 



156 THE BEAU OF THE TOWN. 

He drove a handsome pair 

Of grays, 
And all men sang his praise : 

The heir 
Had plenty and to spare. 

He now is poor and lame 

And bent. 
His sunshine friends all went, 

And shame 
To take their places came. 

The flowers upon his vest 

Are rags ; 
His coat is green, and sags. 

The rest 
May easily be guessed. 

His youth was spent in vain ; 

His age 
Is like a blotted page : 

His bane 
Was Roederer s Champagne. 



E UMENIDES. 1 5 7 



H 



EUMENIDES. 

"E who in noblest strain Life s lessons uses, 

Converts the avenging Furies into Muses; 
Each dawn salutes with sweet surprises, 
And cheerful thoughts ere he arises. 
Him nothing sullens, nor displeases, 
Nor vexed with life, nor dread diseases. 

Fate is but Freedom with averted face, 
Confront the demon and she flees apace : 
Perplexed with life we only move 
As dragged by strife or drawn by Love : 
Souls that to love and truth are blind, 
Ne er enter forms of human kind. 



158 ELD. 



ELD. 

A LL hail, thou Winter Solstice of man s life ! 

Lord of the faded flower and garnered sheaf, 
That pluck st from Time its nothings, leaf by leaf, 
Cancell st its troubles, dost annul its strife ; 
Thy scythe is sacred ; healing is thy knife ! 
Small things thou tak st : yet one thou giv st the chief- 
In noble death our petulant raptures brief 
Stilling, as organs still the lute and fife. 
All hail, divine Detachment ! When thy rod 
Sweeps from the world its pomp, its praise, its pelf, 
Say, what remains ? The Pagan answered " Self : " 1 
The Christian lifts his hands, and answers, " God." 
All good our youth desired was God ! Thou dim 
Decline, find all things summed and sealed in him ! 

1 " Quid superest ? Medea superest." 

SENECA: Tragedy of Medea. 



HORIZON. 159 



HORIZON. 

/^~\H subtle mystery of the air ! 

Or, is it mystery of the earth ? 
Which wooes ? Which pregnant thrills to bear 
In secrecy the beauteous birth ? 

Before the dawn from gray to rose, 
Before the night from rose to gray, 
With traceless change it comes and goes, 
And comes and goes, and will not stay. 

Our feet walk tireless in its lure ; 
Our eyes insatiate pierce its bound ; 
Our hearts wait confident and sure, 
The wealth of its enchanted ground. 

For threescore years from gray to rose, 
From rose to gray, it shines and saves 
Our lives from dearth. 

Who knows, who knows, 
If we shall see it in our graves ! 



l6o ONE HUNDRED AND ONE. 



ONE HUNDRED AND ONE. 

CONCORD, APRIL igth, 1876. 



H 



"OW silent, sad, and gray 

The new-come April day, 
And the tumult and the show of a year ago 
Already far away ! 

A single banner waves 
Above the ancient graves, 
And the sleep is deep on the hillside steep, 
Where the chill wind runs and raves. 

The plain, proud little town, 
Amid her meadows brown, 
Sits lone again, and the great world s din 
Her thought no more doth drown. 

That thought is not less high 
Than in the days gone by, 
Though the mantle of honor be worn upon her 
Henceforth right soberly. 



ONE HUNDRED AND ONE. l6l 

For still the quiet street, 
Where budding elms repeat 
The whisper of the dead, high over head, 
Resounds to loyal feet. 

Where youth died bravely once, 
Immortal youth in bronze, 

Mid the strenuous urging of the spring-tide surging, 
Speaks with unfaltering tones. 

And windows strait and high, 
Whence have looked on the sky 
The eyes of sages, praying the ages 
For light and clear reply, 

The common light receive, 
Whereby all souls do live, 
Whether the spirit charge inherit 
To question or believe. 



1 62 THE SEARCH. 



THE SEARCH. 

IVE me the girl whose lips disclose, 

Whene er she speaks, rare pearls in rows, 
And yet whose words more genuine are 
Than pearls or any shining star. 

" Give me those silvery tones that seem 
An angel s singing in a dream, 
A presence beautiful to view, 
A seraph s, yet a woman s too. 

" Give me that one whose temperate mind 
Is always toward the good inclined, 
Whose deeds spring from her soul unsought 
Twin-born of grace and artless thought ; 

" Give me that spirit, seek for her 

To be my constant minister ! " 

Dear friend, I heed your earnest prayers, 

I 11 call your lovely wife down-stairs. 



NOT LOST. 163 



NOT LOST. 

X/ ES, cross in rest the little, snow-white hands. 
Do you not see the lips so faintly red 

With love s last kiss ? Their sweetness has not fled, 
Though now you say her sinless spirit stands, 
Within the pale of God s bright summer lands. 

Gather the soft hair round the dainty head, 

As in past days. Who says that she is dead, 
And never more will heed the old commands ? 
To your cold idols cling, I know she sleeps ; 

That her pure soul is not by vexed winds tost 

Along the pathless altitudes of space. 
This, life but sows the seed, from which one reaps 

The future s harvest. No, I have not lost 

The glory and the gladness of her face. 



1 64 TRA NSFIG URA TION. 



TRANSFIGURATION. 
IN MEMORIAM. 

"\ yTYSTERlOUS Death ! who in a single hour 

Life s gold can so refine ; 
And by thy art divine 
Change mortal weakness to immortal power ! 

Bending beneath the weight of eighty years, 

Spent with the noble strife 

Of a victorious life, 

We watched her fading heavenward, through our 
tears. 

But, ere the sense of loss our hearts had wrung, 

A miracle was wrought, 

And swift as happy thought 
She lived again, brave, beautiful, and young. 



TRANSFIGURA TION. 165 

Age, Pain, and Sorrow dropped the veils they wore, 

And showed the tender eyes 

Of angels in disguise, 
Whose discipline so patiently she bore. 

The past years brought their harvests rich and fair, 

While Memory and Love 

Together fondly wove 
A golden garland for the silver hair. 

How could we mourn like those who are bereft, 

When every pang of grief 

Found balm for its relief 
In counting up the treasure she had left ? 

Faith that withstood the shocks of toil and time, 

Hope that defied despair, 

Patience that conquered care, 
And loyalty whose courage was sublime. 

The great, deep heart that was a home for all ; 

Just, eloquent and strong, 

In protest against wrong ; 
Wide charity that knew no sin, no fall. 



1 66 TRANSFIGURA TIQN. 

The Spartan spirit that made life so grand, 

Mating poor daily needs 

With high, heroic deeds, 
That wrested happiness from Fate s hard hand. 

We thought to weep, but sing for joy instead, 

Full of the grateful peace 

That followed her release ; 
For nothing but the weary dust lies dead. 

Oh noble woman ! never more a queen 

Than in the laying down 

Of sceptre and of crown, 
To win a greater kingdom yet unseen : 

Teaching us how to seek the highest goal ; 

To earn the true success ; 

To live, to love, to bless, 
And make death proud to take a royal soul. 



IMMORTAL CLOUDS. 1 67 



IMMORTAL CLOUDS. 

CLOUDS, immortal clouds ! 

You rise and float like flowers 
Whose shaken dew might pour 

Through space, in perfumed showers. 

Like flowers you bloom and fade ; 

Like stricken hearts you tremble 
And pass, yet seem to stay 

So swift you reassemble. 

O clouds, immortal clouds ! 

With you I fain would wander ; 
So spirit-like you grow, 

Floating to Heaven yonder ! 



1 68 PILGRIMS. 



PILGRIMS. 

" T TAVE you not seen 
In ancient times 
Pilgrims pass by 
Toward other climes ? 
With shining faces, 
Youthful and strong, 
Mounting this hill 
With speech and with song ? 

" Ah, my good sir, 
I know not those ways : 
Little my knowledge, 
Tho many my days. 
When I have slumbered, 
I have heard sounds 
As of travellers passing 
These my grounds. 



PILGRIMS. 



Twas a sweet music 
Wafted them by, 
I could not tell 
If afar off or nigh. 
Unless I dreamed it, 
This was of yore : 
I never told it 
To mortal before, 
Never remembered 
But in my dreams 
What to me waking 
A miracle seems." 



AVALLON. 



AVALLON. 

f" KNIGHT of Sorrow and Discontent, 
Have been to the land of wonderment 
In a very far country. 

The day was gone, the evening late : 
A messenger came through the silent gate 
Of Dreams, and stood by me. 

So fair a brow, so sweet a mien, 
Had surely much of sorrow seen, 

And had found peace at last. 

There was a kindness in his eyes, 
And in the voice that said "Arise." 
Together, out we passed. 

My comrade knights shall happy be 

That these things happened unto me, 

The Knight of Discontent. 

Strange was the land we travelled through, 
Unpeopled, and no live thing grew 
Beside the tiresome way. 



AVALLON. 



Upon the waste there fell no light 

Of sun by day, or moon by night, 

But ever a twilight gray. 

There was no sky, no wind did blow, 
There fell no rain, there fell no snow, 
Nor dew, nor frost the land did know, 
No change of cold and heat. 

There is no winter there no spring, 
No summer-time, nor harvesting ; 
And dreary was our wandering, . 
And weary were my feet. 

O, wait, my comrade knights, and see 
Why these things happened unto me, 
The Knight of Discontent. 

Down to a river side we came, 
A river without source or name : 
Its ceaseless current runs the same, 
For ever and a day, 

Around an island of great height, 
Around an island of delight, 
A peaceful island, shining bright 
With wondrous light alway. 



1 7 2 AVALLON. 



Mine eyes, that had been dim before, 
Were blessed with visions on that shore, 
Brighter than young men s visions, more 
Than old men ever dream. 

throng of knights, thrice happy ye, 
That these things happened unto me, 

The Knight of Discontent. 

1 saw the mountain-isle divide, 

I saw the high hills thrust aside, 
And fair the valley open wide, 

From centre to the stream. 

At rest beneath the violet sky, 
I saw its groves and cities lie, 
More beauteous than human eye 

Hath seen, or heart conceived. 

There saw I mystic things, foretold 
And written in the books of old, 
Hintings of prophets overbold, 

By perfect faith believed. 

A tree whose leaves will heal all harms, 
The seven lamps with seven arms, 
And new-named people bearing palms 
Were in that valley there. 



AVALLON. 1/3 



And, while I gazed, desire awoke 
To cross to those palm-bearing folk. 
I seemed to turn not as I spoke : 

" Why stop we ? Let us fare 

"Unto that valley." But my guide, 
That I had thought was close beside, 
Stood far upon the flowing tide, 

And said : " Not yet for thee 

" Comes there a sound of dipping oar, 
" Comes there a boat from yonder shore 
" Not thee alone we wish, but more," 
And, " Go thou back and see 

" Of all the Knights of Discontent, 
" The sorrow-bowed, the trouble-bent, 
-" How many there may be 

" To rise and put their armor on, 
" And seek the vale of Avallon 

" In a very far country." 

O listening knights , thrice blessed are ye. 
That these things happened unto me. 
The Knight of Discontent. 



1/4 SUCCESS. 



SUCCESS. 

OUCCESS is counted sweetest 
By those who ne er succeed. 
To comprehend a Nectar 
Requires the sorest need. 
Not one of all the Purple Host 
Who took the flag to-day, 
Can tell the definition, 
So plain, of Victory, 
As he defeated, dying, 
On whose forbidden ear 
The distant strains of triumph 
Break, agonizing clear. 



GUY VERNON, 

A NOVELETTE IN VERSE. 



PART I. 
THE WEDDING JOURNEY. 

PART II. 
HOMEWARD VOYAGE. 

PART III. 
THE FORSAKEN BRIDE. 

PART IV. 
THE LOST BRIDEGROOM. 

PART V. 
HUSBAND AND LOVER. 

PART VI. 
SATURN. 



GUY VERNON. 

PART I. 
THE WEDDING JOURNEY. 

I. 

T TE was as fair a bachelor as ever 

Resolved to take a wife at forty-five. 
Indeed, how one so amiable and clever, 

Good-looking, rich, et cetera, could contrive 
Till the high noon of manhood not to wive, 
Was a vexed theme, and long remained a mystery 
To those who did not know his early history. 

And none knew that among his bride s relations. 
At Saratoga, where you meet all grades 

Of well-dressed people spending short vacations, 
Manoeuvring mothers, marriageable maids, 
And fortune-hunters on their annual raids, 

He saw her waltz, and spite of every barrier 

Of years or influence, inly vowed, " I 11 marry her ! " 
12 



178 GUY VERNON. 



Barriers there were : she was but twoand-twenty, 
He, twice her age, as I have intimated. 

But that seems no great matter : there are plenty 
Of wives to-day felicitously mated 
With husbands whose nativities are dated 

(I speak with some authority) a score 

Of years before their own, and sometimes more. 

One barrier in himself quite good and strong 
There was, the mystery no one could discover 

Which kept our beau a bachelor so long : 
But when a man is very much a lover 
Such things are somehow easily got over : 

And one in her, on which he had not counted, 

That could not be so readily surmounted. 

The lady though Guy Vernon did not know it 
Had left another lover in the city, 

Rob Lome, a journalist, and sort of poet ; 
A fellow so unthrifty and so witty, 
That honest people said it was a pity 

A needle of such point should have a head 

Too fine to take a strong and useful thread. 



GUY VERNON. 1 79 



While for a season they were separated, 
And in his dismal editorial den 

The lover labored and the lady waited 

For him to make a fortune with his pen, 

A thing which does not come to scribbling men 

So often as, for one, I wish it did, 

Vernon stepped up and made a higher bid. 

II. 

Guy Vernon s hand ! a splendid offer truly ! 

And though Florinda (so the muse shall name her) 

Was neither false nor fickle, nor unduly [her, 

Given to the world, which never quite could claim 
Much as she loved society, don t blame her, 

If, when a man like Vernon wished to bid her in, 

She thought the matter worth, at least, considering. 

Good family, good habits, handsome presence, 
Breathing in dress, smile, gesture, look, and tone 

That indefinable ethereal essence 

Of culture and high breeding, let alone 

His private charities, which were well known, 

A match he seemed in every way superior 

To him whose chances chanced to be anterior. 



I SO GUY VERNON. 



Her friends all chorused, " Vernon ! *Hear to us ! 
A man of soul and sense is always young ! " 

But conscience whispered, "Plighted troth!" 

While thus 

Long time in even scale the battle hung 
(As somebody has somewhere said or sung), 

Her heart or shall we say imagination ? 

Was in a fearful state of perturbation. 

If she had been excessively in love, 

The business would at once have been decided. 

The one imperious, mighty power, above 

All others in such matters though unguided, 
Misguided often, scorned, profaned, derided 

Is Love, whose little arrow seldom fails, 

Thrown in, to turn the matrimonial scales. 

The trouble is, we do not love : who loves 
With that immortal passion, pure, supreme, 

Strong and unselfish, tender as the dove s, 
Which touches life with a celestial beam, 
And wraps the world in its own radiant dream ; 

Makes heavens of eyes, and then has power to bring 

All heaven within the horizon of a ring ? 



GUY VERNON. 181 



III. 

One loved, at least, our poet. How he first 
Learned of the complication, I ve no notion ; 

But sudden lava-flood and flame outburst, 
A young volcano in Love s summer ocean, 
Which sank as suddenly ; and, all devotion, 

Humility, despair, self-sacrifice, 

He wrote : " The world was right ! you were not wise, 

" To link your fate with one so poor as I : 

You re free." And after many tears, and blind, 

Swift gusts of passion, she accepted Guy. 
All which sounds commonplace enough, I find. 
But somehow it seems better, to my mind, 

The muse should be a trifle too familiar, 

Than pompous, adipose, and atrabiliar, 

Singing the past in those false tones I loathe. 
Some poets seem oppressed with the conviction, 

That to be classic, they must still re-clothe 
The venerable forms of antique fiction 
In what they deem approved poetic diction ; 

And so they let their unpruned fancies roll 

Round some old theme, like hop-vines round a pole. 



1 82 GUY VERNON. 

Give me the living theme, and living speech 
The native stem and its spontaneous shoots, 

Fibres and foliage of the soul that reach 

Deep down in human life their thrilling roots, 
And mould the sunshine into golden fruits, 

Not ashes to the taste, but fit to feed 

The highest and the humblest human need ! 

O singers of the sunset ! is there naught 
Remaining for the muse, but just to fill 

Old skins of fable with weak wine of thought ? 
The child, Imagination, at his will 
Reshakes to wondrous forms of beauty still 

A few bright shards of common joy and hope, 

And turns the worlS in his kaleidoscope. 

IV. 

Well, they were married, sometime in the autumn, 
At her aunt s house in town, with great display ; 

For though the bride was penniless, and brought him 
Her beauty for sole dower (that proud array 
Of lace and diamonds was his gift, they say), 

A multitude of friends conspired to render 

The wedding feast a perfect blaze of splendor. 



GUY VERNON. 183 



She did not know, before, she had so many 
Rich and enthusiastic friends : the snob, 

Who never would have sacrificed a penny 
In bridal gifts for one who married Rob, 
Made haste to join the fashionable mob, 

Since Vernon was the man, and would have given his 

Last dime to buy her something nice at Tiffany s. 

Lome bravely stood his ground till all was over ; 

Then quietly looked round him for some means 
Of burying his dead hope ; became a rover, 

Visiting foreign countries and strange scenes ; 

And, writing verses for the magazines, 
Newspaper sketches, stories, correspondence, he 
Struggled with his hotel-bills and despondency. 

The wedded pair went off to Louisiana, 

Where Vernon owned a very large plantation, 

And wintered in New Orleans and Havana, 
A season of delightful dissipation, 
Sight-seeing, dining, driving, conversation, 

And best of all the infinite variety 

Found in each other s ever-fresh society. 



l8 4 GUY VERNON. 

A paragon of husbands ; she admired 

His noble, courtly manhood more and more ; 

And every day his constancy inspired 

In her a tenderer deference than before : 
So she began in earnest to adore 

This married man and model of a hero, 

First love s quicksilver sinking fast to zero. 

Such wedlock is, to true hearts truly wed j 

Love s guarded paradise ; where sometimes they 

Who enter with indifference or dread 

Find richest blessings ; though I m bound to say, 
The rule too often works the other way, 

And disenchantment leads to evil courses, 

Domestic jars, elopements, and divorces. 

V. 

t 

And all was lovely with our loving couple; 
Till, one day in Havana, there befell, 

What seems a trifle, their first serious trouble. 
As they were riding on the Isabel 
Paseo, which the traveller knows so well, 

Tis truly a magnificent parade, 

Walks, fountains, statues, carriage-way, and shade ; 



GUY VERNON. 185 



Thronged with pedestrians, horsemen, prancing spans ; 
Ladies in head-dress singularly scanty, 

Darting dark glances from behind their fans, 
Never on foot, but drawn (behind a jaunty 
Black-faced postilion) in a gay volante, 

That Cuban gig, of easy jogging motion ; 

Here, the fine harbor ; there the circling ocean : 

Epitome and picture of Havana, 

And that rich land of tropic fruit and tree, 
Fair Island of the orange and banana, 

And endless summer in a sapphire sea ! 

Land of the cocoa and mahogany ; 
Voluptuous, balmy nights, and wondrous stars ; 
Of Creole beauties and the best cigars : 

Twas on that famous promenade, where daily 
You meet the wealth and fashion of the isle, 

As they were riding and conversing gayly, 

And now and then exchanging nod and smile, 
With new-made friends, along that marvellous mile, 

In the soft, rosy twilight of the tropic, 

Florinda touched upon a dangerous topic. 



1 86 GUY VERNON. 



VI. 

Guy had a bright mulatto for a servant, 
A jewelled, gorgeous fellow ; very handy 

To pack a trunk, pay bills, discreet, observant ; 
Originally nicknamed Sam or Sandy, 
But so superb and exquisite a dandy, 

Resplendent in all sorts of gaudy things, 

Florinda called him Saturn, for his rings. 

Of all unfeathered bipeds, Feejees, Negroes, 
In any clime, of race refined or rude ; 

Where crawls the crocodile, or where the tea grows ; 
Pale, swarthy, tawny-skinned, or copper-hued ; 
Turbaned or pigtailed, naked, furred, tattooed ; 

The queerest yet turned out from Nature s shop 

Is your complete, unmitigated fop. 

And of all fops the foppiest yet was Saturn. 

Twas rumored, he had once been Vernon s slave, 
Now freed for his fidelity : a pattern 

Of your smooth, secret, serviceable knave ; 

Guy s varlet, barber, purse, and very grave 
Custodian of his cash, mustache, and collars; 
And worth himself some twenty thousand dollars. 



GUY VERNON. 187 



Of her dear Vernon he was such a travesty ; 
The insufferable smile with which he asked 

At what hour Guy would drive or dine or have his tea ; 
The lazy insolence with which he basked 
In his own conscious gorgeousness, so tasked 

Florinda s patience and provoked her merriment, 

That now she ventured on a rash experiment. 

" I m sick of such magnificence of vest ! 

1 hate the princely air with which he bends 
That carded pate, oiled, scented ! I detest 

Crinkled mustaches with waxed, pointed ends ! 

But oh, I see ! " she laughed, " the rogue intends 
To have at least a few straight hairs about him. 
Would the sky fall if we should do without him ? 

" Do please me, love, get rid of this phenomenon ! 
Dear, will you make me happy ? " But although 
The wish seemed not an idle, nor uncommon one, 
Vernon grew pallid, and with scarce a show 
Of his accustomed graciousness, said, " No ! " 
So bluntly, coldly, that her quick tears started, 
And for five minutes she was broken-hearted. 



1 88 GUY VERNON. 



"Darling! " she said, "I was but half in earnest; 
I only meant to say that I can t bear him ! " 
" Unfortunate," he answered, with his sternest 

And most forbidding scowl, "for I can t spare him ! " 
And, like the tyrant of a Turkish harem, 
Thus having curtly uttered his conclusion, 
He plucked his beard in anger and confusion. 

But seeing her tears, he soon began to rally 

His gentler thoughts : " My dear, you do not know 

That faithful, that incomparable valet, 
A perfect nonpareil, as valets go ! 
In other matters I am seldom slow 

To heed your lightest wishes ; but in such 

A case as this you really ask too much. 

" Reasons there are but I can t undertake 

To give the reasons." "Keep him, dear," she 

sighed ; 

" I 11 even resolve to love him for your sake." 
And so the matter dropped : Florinda tried 
To make a jest of it, but only cried ; 
For Vernon s conduct, and the sallow fellow s 
Strange influence with him, made her sad and jealous. 



GUY VERNON. 189 



VII. 

So the ring d planet kept his proud supremacy 
Over Guy Vernon s person, mind, and purse, 

As if there blazed not such another gem as he 
In the blue setting of the universe ! 
And still Florinda liked him worse and worse ; 

But practised wise duplicity, concealing 

With innocent art her inmost thought and feeling. 

And all seemed well ; till something far more serious 
Occurred her gentle tactics to derange : 

First, something in the air, scarce felt, mysterious, 
The subtile shadow of a coming change ; 
Then Guy grew restless, melancholy, strange, 

Subject to absent moods and fitful sighs, 

While Saturn watched him with keen, cautious eyes. 

Florinda pleaded fondly : " Tell me, dearest, 
Your secret trouble ! If you are in pain, 

You know you have my tenderest, sincerest 

Sympathy, which, I pray you, don t disdain !" 
But Vernon only groaned : " I can t explain ! 

Ask Sandy there is something he will tell you." 

And then abruptly left her with the fellow. 



1 90 GUY VERNON. 



So the disgust and shame were forced upon her 

Of begging Saturn to unfold the matter. 
He smiled, bowed, hand on waistcoat: "Ton my 

honor ! " 

Quirking his eyebrows, he stood leering at her, 
Like some bedizened, over-civil satyr, 
" Extremely sorry news from our attorney 
In short, hem ! madam, we must make a journey." 

" Where ? " cries Florinda. " Back to our plantation." 

" Tell me at once ! what is the dreadful news ? " 
" The business scarce admits of explanation ; 

For ladies, altogether too abstruse ! " 
" When do we go ? " " Ah, madam ! please excuse 
The cruel circumstance,- the what you call 
Necessity, you do not go at all." 

" And what becomes of me ? " Pale, stunned, she stared. 

" Madam, you and your maid will be confided 
To Captain Jones ; so please you, be prepared 
To sail next week : all things have been provided." 
He smiled, extremely bland, but quite decided : 
" Believe me, madam, tis with deepest sorrow 
That we must sail the other way to-morrow." 



GUY VERNON. 



She clasped her hands before him, speechless, trembling, 
Fearing some terrible distress or treason ; 

While Saturn stood there, simpering, dissembling. 
" Don t be alarmed, you surely have no reason ; 
You join your friends, and later in the season, 

This trifling business ended, he will meet you. 

Be calm, be patient, madam, I entreat you ! " 

She answered : " Tell me all I will be calm ! 
What is my husband s grief, this fearful trouble ? 

Money ? a duel ? " With a low salaam 
He bent his brilliant person nearly double 
(Body and soul seemed similarly supple) : 

" Beg pardon, madam, neither ! To be brief, 

Parting from you is his especial grief." 

" Why does he leave me, then ? O sir, be good ! 
Is there another woman ? Tell me truly ! " 

The fellow was a study as he stood, 

Grimacing, shrugging, lynx-eyed, white-toothed, woolly : 
"The circumstance has been explained as fully 

As seems desirable, but this I ll say, 

No other woman stands in madam s way. 



1 9 2 GUY VERNON. 

" Excuse me, madam, if I say no more. 

We go to-morrow, and you sail next week." 
The rogue retreated, bowing, to the door, 

And adding, " You 11 do better not to speak 
To him of this affair, unless you seek 
His ruin and your own unhappiness," 
Left her in tears of terror and distress. 

VIII. 

She flew to Vernon s room : abstracted, moody, 
Before his table, leaning on a chair, 

Motionless, breathless, like a statue stood he, 
With drooping arms, bent head, disordered hair, 
In utter desolation and despair ; 

Then suddenly a shuddering sigh ran through him. 

She stayed her steps, not daring to go to him. 

Was this the noble Vernon she had wedded, 
The tender husband and the ardent wooer? 

Unspeakably her poor heart longed, yet dreaded, 
To question, comfort him ; when, turning to her, 
Quick as some conscience-stricken evil-doer 

In his dark moments taken by surprise, 

He glared upon her with strange, awful eyes. 



GUY VERNON. 193 



Othello s thus on Desdemona burned. 

She took his hand, and silent, white with fear, 

Yet, with the strength a strong heart gave, returned 
His lowering look, from large eyes deep and clear, 
Where love and pity trembled to a tear. 

Then, as he smote his brow and turned away, 

She asked, " Have you not one kind word to say ? " 

Strongly she held her wildly throbbing heart, 
Determined not to question nor complain ; 

But only said, " To-morrow, then, we part ? 

O Guy ! dear Guy ! when shall we meet again ? " 
He wrung her hand until she shrank with pain ; 

Then flung her off, and from the chamber fled, 

Leaving the little longed-for word unsaid. 

IX. 

She felt her heart give way, and quickly grew ill, 
Sinking upon the couch in abject woe. 

There as she lay, and thought how strange, how cruel 
That he should keep his secrets from her so, 
That she had none which Vernon might not know,- 

She started, thinking how she had forborne 

To tell him of her love-affair with Lome. 

13 



194 GUY VERNON. 



Now had some recent, terrible discovery 
Changed his regard to sudden deadly hate ? 

Oh ! had she lost his love beyond recovery, 

Through that one fault, which unforgiving Fate 
Had left some loophole to reveal too late ? 

Was that malicious, treacherous, artful fellow 

The dark lago to her white Othello ? 

Was this his vengeance for that talk with Guy 
About his merits ? Had some scrap of paper 

Betrayed her secret ? was her maid a spy ? 
For thus in mystery s magnifying vapor 
The fearful soul sees giant shapes that ape her; 

As in the Brocken spectre one discovers 

One s own vast beckoning shade, that towers and hovers. 

So Fear has oftenest but itself to fear. 

But though imagined ills are still the worst, 
To troubled souls this truth is never clear ; 

When evil lowers we deem the rule reversed, 

And fancy blacker woes about to burst 
Upon our heads than any yet conceived. 
So now Florinda, right or wrong, believed. 



GUY VERNON. 195 



X. 

She rose and paced the room like one distracted ; 
And wrote, but tore in haste the blotted sheet ; 

Then turned I know not by what power attracted - 
To the front window-bars her restless feet, 
And, looking out upon the quaint old street, 

Saw with lithe head on graceful shoulders borne - 

Her late, discarded lover, Robert Lome : 

Now habited like any Habenero, 

Sauntering as leisurely, quite free from care ; 
His fine face shaded by a light sombrero, 

Bearded, and brown as he had once been fair ; 

Smoking his cigarito with an air 
Of such observant fancy and enjoyment, 
As seems your poet-traveller s fit employment. 

He had not died of love, that heart-disease 
Which proves but seldom fatal, to my thinking. 

Defeated hope, sick fancy, if you please, 
Often induce a sentimental sinking, 
Drive some to suicide and some to drinking, 

But stop far short of any such forlorn 

And dismal end, with high, brave hearts like Lome. 



196 GUY VERNON. 



He had come down at first as far as Florida, 
And seen the alligator and flamingo ; 

Then, passing on to regions somewhat torrider, 
Reached the French-negro side of San Domingo, 
And learned a little of the curious lingo 

The people speak there, but conceived no mighty 

Love for those Black Republicans of Hayti. 

He had at Port-au-Prince remained a while, and, 
With curiously well-furnished note-books, he 

Was now returning by the greater Island, 

Which sweeps its curve of beauty thro the sea ; 
Where trade-winds temper the intensity 

Of tropic heats ah, would they might allay 

The passions that distract the land to-day ! 

And so it chanced that he was now in town, 
And at this very moment passing by, 

While poor Florinda stood there looking down. 
All which seems natural enough ; but why 
He also chanced just then to turn his eye, 

As if he felt the drawing of her glance, 

Is a much more mysterious circumstance. 



GUY VERNON. 1 97 



XI. 

At the long, open window, through the bars 
(Those Cuban fronts are formidably grated) 

Burned her deep eyes, like two bright burning stars ; 
Whereby it seemed that he was really fated 
To be for ever fooled and fascinated ! 

He started, turned half round, then, flushed and flurried, 

Lifting his broad sombrero, on he hurried. 

A dream, beyond all dreams of possibility, 
Her image there appeared ! but none the less 

The chance encounter jostled his tranquillity, 
And shattered, as you readily will guess, 
The new-filled crystal of his happiness j 

As if a goblet, which he smiling bore, 

Were dashed in fragments on a marble floor. 

The tropic suns had not so scorched and wilted him 
As those two eyes ! They left him trembling, weak, 

Fevered and shaken, as when first she jilted him. 
He strode along with flaming heart and cheek, 
As if to find what strangers need not seek 

Long time in vain there, wandering up and down 

The mind s distraction in that novel town. 



198 GUY VERNON. 



The place is picturesque with blacks and coolies, 

Peasants and panniered beasts : there s nothing odder 

Than the slow-paced, half-hidden, peering mule is, 
Beneath his moving stack of fresh green fodder. 
It would be better if the streets were broader, 

The windows glazed, of that, though, I m not sure, 

The hotels better, and mosquitoes fewer. 

Lome ranged the town ; dined, spite of sentiment ; 
Finished some correspondence for the morrow s 

New Orleans mail ; then hastened with intent 
To make an article, and drown his sorrows 
To see the town s renowned Plaza de Toros, 

The place of bull-fights ; for the first and last time 

Assisting at the favorite Spanish pastime. 

He must have been fastidious, not to fancy 
The frenzied multitude s vociferating, 

To wonder, as he did, what people can see, 
In frightening, torturing, and infuriating 
A poor dumb beast, so wildly fascinating ; 

What sport there is in all the shrieking, roaring, 

Dart-piercing, spearing, bellowing, rushing, goring. 



GUY VERNON. 199 



Departing with unspeakable disgust, 

In sea-baths sheltered from the prowling shark 

He cooled his fever and washed off his dust ; 
Walked the Paseo, spruce as any spark, 
Looking in all the carriages, till dark ; 

Then to the theatre I blush to say, 

Hoping to see Florinda at the play. 

Nor novel scenes, nor all the blare and clamor 
Of bull-fights, nor the evening s promenade, 

Nor sitting through a Spanish melodrama, 
Had power to make him any thing but sad 
And irritated ; for, alas ! he had 

No second vision of the eyes that haunted him, 

Which being absent, nothing else enchanted him. 

And so next day, in anger and despair 

Because he could not keep his truant thought, 

And scarce his footsteps, from the window where 
That momentary glimpse of her was caught, 
Safety against his traitorous heart he sought, 

And, to its mad attraction risen superior, 

Made a short journey into the interior. 



PART II. 

HOMEWARD VOYAGE. 

I. 

TV NOW ye the land ? and so forth. Cuba seems 

The later western Eden of our planet. 
What wafted incense from the gate of dreams, 

What heavenly zephyrs hover o er and fan it ! 

With groves of orange, mango, and pomegranate, 
And flowering forests through whose wealth of blooms, 
Like living fires, dart birds of gorgeous plumes. 

There by still bays the tall flamingo stands ; 
The sunrise flame of whose reflected form 

Crimsons the glassy wave and glistening sands. 
There, large and luminous, throughout the warm, 
Soft summer eves myriads of fireflies swarm ; 

Like the bright spirits of departed flowers 

Nightly revisiting their native bowers. 



GUY VERNON. 2OI 



Its own rich, varying world the isle enfolds ; 

Where glowing Nature seems most prodigal 
Of life and beauty ; where the eye beholds 

Orchards that blossom while their ripe fruits fall ; 

Mountains, refulgent vales ; and, curved round all, 
From some palm-crested summit seen afar, 
The gleaming ocean s steel-bright scimitar. 

II. 

All which to Lome was an intoxication, 

That fed his passion while it soothed his pain. 

Round aromatic jungle and plantation, 
Gardens of shaded coffee, seas of cane 
Sweeping their billowy verdure through the plain, 

He breathed the flame of indolent desire, 

And carried in his heart those eyes of fire. 

She was unhappy ! in the look she gave him 
Deep sorrow made impassioned, sad appeal. 

So love conspired with pity to enslave him, 

And the sweet hope that still her heart might feel 
The heavenly hurt which only he could heal ! 

Until at last this new infatuation 

Became an irresistible temptation. 



202 GUY VERNON. 



Back to the city, with a wretched sense 
Of his own guilty weakness, in a tremor 

Of passionate haste and torturing suspense, 
To meet her, flew the miserable dreamer ; 
But saw, just coming into port, a steamer, 

At whose proud peak the Yankee ensign waved ; 

While something seemed to whisper, " You are saved ! 

" Fly ! fly ! " it said : " there is no middle course ! 

Your coming cannot help, but only harm her. 
Rally your manhood s enervated force, 

Put on determination s burnished armor ! 

Sin is the lovely snake, the deadly charmer ; 
The tempted soul, the bird that round it hovers ; 
Flight, the sole safety for sore-tempted lovers ! " 

All which was seconded by sober reason, 

Making his duty in the matter clear : 
Twas late in February, and the season 

So dangerous to the northern blood was near ; 

The best hotels were bad and very dear : 
So Prudence, joined with Virtue, bade him leave her, 
Avoid expense, temptation, and the fever. 



GUY VERNON. 203 



Subtler considerations, too, assisted, 

No doubt, to make him do as he was bidden ; 

For conduct is a complex cord, that s twisted 
Of many a strand of motive, seen or hidden, 
And sometimes with the weightiest purpose slid in, 

And covered perfectly from tip to tip, 

The belly that gives vengeance to the whip. 

With Lome, this may have been deep-wounded pride 
And love s despite : " She shall not say I sought her ! " 

And so, his passport claimed, " Farewell," he cried, 
" Queen of the Isles, Spain s ill-adopted daughter ! 
Farewell your plumy palms and blue sea-water ! 

Your toiling slaves and idle senoritas, 

Paseos, chain-gangs, bull-fights, and mosquitoes ! " 

III. 

Twas really when the steamer sailed next day, 

That Lome, on board her, breathed his last farewell ; 

When from the port with countless streamers gay, 
By frowning bastion and tall citadel 
They passed, and took the grand Atlantic swell 

And freshening sea-breeze, which are always found 

Exhilarating to the homeward-bound. 



204 - GUY VERNON. 



He paced the deck, and puffed his cigarito, 
Mid oranges in many a fragrant pile 

(Barrels of oranges, stacked crates of ditto), 

And watched the gorgeous sunset s golden smile 
Fade on the lovely, fast-receding isle, 

Then the soft, purple-pinioned twilight sweep 

The dark-green land and iridescent deep. 

Castles and villas, hills and plumy palms, 

Vanished, to live for ever in his view 
Enring. d in rosy equinoctial calms. 

The burnished waves wore many a wondrous hue ; 

Stars twinkled in the deep eternal blue ; 
And on the horizon of the sea, behold 
The Southern Cross, with nails of burning gold ! 

IV. 

The waves, the heavens, the soothing, bland sea air, 
The beauty and the life, within him stirred 

Depths of delicious longing, sweet despair ; 
And gazing landward till his vision blurred, 
He breathed farewell to her. But now was heard, 

Passing along the lower deck and upper, 

A welcome call ; and he went down to supper. 



GUY VERNON. 2O$ 



With excellent appetite, if one must know it, 
Which at the long, well-lighted cabin table, 

Crowded with hungry passengers, our poet 
Was solacing as well as he was able, 
When, glancing round the clattering, chattering Babel, 

He paused, aghast, a slice of tongue half swallowed, 

Seeing the Fate which, flying, he had followed ! 

Florinda ! pale but lovely still ; enrapt in 
The delicate discussion of cold chicken, 

And some engaging topic with the Captain. 
Just then, amid loud talk and teacups clicking, 
Over the wing she happened to be picking 

She looked and there was Lome, quite dazed and pallid, 

Staring at her across a dish of salad. 
\ 

He was a sort of picturesque Adonis, 

With eyebrows of the true Adonis curve ; 

Eyes all expression ; brown hair waved upon his 
Broad, graceful brow ; fine nostrils, full of nerve ; 
And something in the pure face that might serve 

To make you like what still you might condemn in it, 

And left him beautiful, but not effeminate. 



206 GUY VERNON. 



Their eyes met for a moment ; and the lady s 
Flashed on him, with a sudden dilatation, 

Such grateful, radiant, sweet surprise as made his 
Whole being tremble with deep agitation, 
Gave his quick spirits a singular elation, 

And mantled his white forehead with a flush 

Which deepened to a quite decided blush. 

She did not blush (men often blush, somehow, 
When women don t) : those eyes divinely bright, 

Beneath the beaming crescent of her brow, 
Venus s glow beside Diana s light 
(I trust my classic metaphors are right), 

Shone lustrously upon him, while his gaze 

Sank modestly before their melting rays. 

V. 

Ere long she rose ; and, pausing just to turn on 
Poor Lome a parting look, away she swept. 

Where, all the while (he marvelled), where was Vernon ? 
Sea-sick, perhaps, and so his room he kept. 
Lome s thoughts were flame : he sought the air, and stept 

Up the steep stairs as light of heart and proud 

As if he had been climbing on a cloud. 



GUY VERNON. 2O/ 



Now in the night he found a deeper charm ; 
And to and fro he passed with pensive pace, 

When, lo, Florinda on the Captain s arm ! 
He knew her by her shape of perfect grace, 
Then by the moonlit beauty of her face, 

And soft, low accents, as they passed him by, 

And found a seat beneath the open sky. 

They passed but what was that his ears had heard ? 

Vernon not with her gone to his plantation ! 
Never before had simple, spoken word 

Struck all his heartstrings into such vibration. 

But four months married, and a separation ! 
And she so pale ! could there have been a quarrel ? 
He queried, with an interest quite immoral. 

Now here were they, old lovers ! For a minute 

He questioned his poor flattered conscience, whether 

The hand of Providence might not be in it. 
That they should thus be voyaging together 
In the luxurious, lulling, lovely weather, 

Just after he so virtuously had shunned her, 

Appears indeed a matter of some wonder. 



208 GUY VERNON. 



What was the Voice that hurried him abroad, 
He deemed his better angel s ? Providence 

Seems after all a sort of two-edged sword, 
Now the direct, miraculous defence 
Of piety and helpless innocence ; 

Then, suddenly reversed, it seems no less 

To shape the ways of sin and wickedness. 

Could we but know when life s true light is given ! 
Are there attendant powers of good and evil, 

One Influence, rightly deemed the Will of Heaven, 
And one which we in phrase not quite so civil 
Succinctly term temptation of the Devil ? 

And both so like ! Would some one, who has seen them, 

Might teach us to discriminate between them ! 

Here, things are so astonishingly mixed, 
And morals still so little understood, 

It takes a saint indeed to choose betwixt 
The bad that s pleasant and the bitter good, 
Always with perfect faith and certitude ! 

Evil, perhaps, being nothing more nor less 

Than good in disproportion, or excess. 



GUY VERNON. 2OQ 



Impartial nature fosters and upholds them 
By the same equal laws, and it may be 

The same great brooding power of Love enfolds them, 
With the vast patience of eternity ! 
The beams of Life are laid in Harmony ; 

In whose triumphal, everlasting glory 

Discord shall be resolved. But to our story. 

VI. 

Lome meant to show a dignified reserve 
By walking at a cool, respectful distance ; 

But towards Florinda still his feet would swerve, 
Drawn by a power beyond him, whose persistence 
Found in him little and still less resistance, 

Till, starting with the Captain from their place, 

The lady met him almost face to face. 

Pure accident, of .course. She bowed quite slowly, 
As if her eyes might possibly deceive her. 

With proudly meek, magnificently lowly 
Obeisance, under his uplifted beaver, 
He passed aside as if inclined to leave her. 

Regardless of his coldness or his scorn, 

She cried, " Why, truly ! it is Robert Lome ! " 



210 GUY VERNON. 



Which he acknowledged, with another bend 
And civil show of passing. She detained him ; 

And introduced the Captain to her "friend;" 
And still with silvery eloquence enchained him, 
And with a charming petulance arraigned him 

For visiting the Cuban capital 

Without so much as giving her a call ! 

" My husband would have been right glad to meet you ! 
You came to Cuba tell me when and how ! " 

"Excuse me," said the Captain, "let me seat you," 
Placing a pair of camp-stools : "I ve just now 
Some duties which will take me to the bow." 

And, seeing Robert and Florinda seated, 

That guileless instrument of fate retreated. 

They took their places mutely, without protest, 
And sat as if they had been carved in stone. 

For hearts estranged, as you perhaps have noticed, 
When brought together and thus left alone, 
Cannot so easily resume the tone 
f Of light society, which often covers 

The aching wounds of parted friends and lovers. 



GUY VERNON. 211 



He who from his late Cuban trip had come 
Back to the town to seek her in such haste, 

Now in her presence sat constrained and dumb ; 
And he who fondly many a time had placed 
A lover s arm about that lovely waist, 

Was strangely now become, while sitting by her, 

A man of outward ice and inward fire. 

The lady was the first to speak, of course. 

" You hate me, Robert ! " accents quick and low. 

He answered in a voice repressed and hoarse : 

" What reason have I ? " " O, you shunned me so ! 
But, Robert, there are things you do not know ! 

Can t we be friends ? I need a friend ! O Rob ! " 

Here she was interrupted by a sob. 

Then hardly could he master the impassioned, 

Wild words that forced his lips : " Have you forgot 

Florinda ! " But he checked himself, and fashioned 
In the firm moulds of prudent speech his thought, 
And told how he from first to last had sought 

Her happiness : " And so," he vowed, "you still 

Shall have my whole life s service, if you will." 



212 GUY VERNON. 



They talked ; and words brought kind alleviation 
Of pain to both, and in new friendship bound them ; 

And the sweet sense of reconciliation 

Diffused an atmosphere of bliss around them ; 

Till quite too soon the Captain came and found them ; 

And, happy in her late lost friend s recapture, 

Florinda left him to his new-found rapture. 

VII. 

A golden shallop on the rim of Ocean, 

The new moon poised, a slowly sinking crescent. 

With throbbing heart and steady heaving motion, 

Strove the strong ship : the deep was phosphorescent, 
And on through fiery billows of liquescent, 

Immingled meteors, rolling them asunder, 

She kept her course through all that night of wonder. 

O dear, inconstant Seraph of Repose ! 

Wing to the homes of woe thy downy flight ; 
Visit the couch of wretchedness, and close 

The aching sense that wearies of the night ! 

But when immortal Freshness and Delight 
Sail with the enraptured soul the glorious deep, 
What have we then to do with thee, O Sleep ? 



GUY VERNON. 213 



Remembering all her words, her looks, her sighs, 

Lome vowed : " I will not wrong her ; Heaven ! I 
swear 

For her sake endless love and sacrifice ! 
Just to be near her, and to breathe the air 
She blesses with the fragrance of her hair, 

To shiver at the rustle of her dress, 

Is more than other mortals happiness ! " 

He would not change his lot for any other. 
She need not love him : he would only ask 

To be a little dearer than a brother ! 
No richer blessing, no diviner task, 
Than to defend and comfort her, to bask 

A little in her presence, and so feed 

At those bright beams his heart s eternal need. 

Love lights all men and women ; and all things 
In youth and loveliness to love invoke us ; 



And beauty is a burning-glass that brings 
The soft, diffusive sunshine to a focus, 
Whose rays, it may be said, sometimes provoke us 
To kindle and consume with sweet desire, 
While yet the glass feels nothing of the fire. 



214 GUY VERNON. 



If she be cold, so much the worse for her ! 
To be beloved is much ; but far above 

All that the whole world s worship can confer 
Of outward blessing, is the heart s own love, 
Even that poor passion which adores a glove 

Or lady s slipper, though one s apt to find 

Small solace in it, if she s too unkind. 

VIII. 

Of all the wonders I have heard or read of, 

In these Centennial days and years of wonder, 

From this which tells us what the stars are made of, 
To that which over hemispheres and under 
The seas that hold the continents asunder 

Speeds our swift thought, of all, from first to latest, 

The mighty Ocean steamship is the greatest. 

To favoring gales it opens snow-white wings, 
But takes all gales with laughter ; it salutes 

Strange lands and climates in its course, and brings 
To northern shores full-ripened tropic fruits ; 
A Titan, that to power and speed transmutes 

Its daily ration of huge tons of coal, 

And seems almost to be endowed with soul. 



GUY VERNQN. 2 1 5 



When I behold this little peopled world, 
Large as an asteroid, in the nether blue, 

Its flashing wheels, proud decks, and flags unfurled ; 
Then fancy that ancestral savage who 
First pushed from shore with paddle and canoe, 

I m forced to the Darwinian conclusion 

That here s a masterpiece of evolution. 

From the first skiff of sutured skins or bark 

To the three-decker with its thundering guns, 

From Jason s classic junk, or Noah s ark, 

To the grand steamship of five thousand tons, 
The thing developed : just as Man was once 

Well, not a monkey ; that he never was 

But something less, evolved through Nature s laws. 

Allah il Allah ! great is Evolution, 

And Darwin eminently is its Prophet ! 

Out of primeval chaos and confusion 

It massed the nebulous orb, and fashioned of it 
The sun and planets ; one whereof it saw fit 

To finish off with most attractive features, 

And make the abode of curious living creatures. 



2l6 GUY VERNON. 



All which I do most potently believe, 
Taking large stock in Natural Selection. 

But, gentlemen, I cannot quite conceive 
Since centuries of plotting and reflection 
Have brought to pass the steamboat s last perfection 

What power, without intelligence or plan, 

Evolved the wonders of the World and Man. 

Not from without, tis true, with toil and din, 
Laboriously, the World was built or moulded : 

By its own law, divinely, from within, 
No doubt, the incubated egg unfolded 
To the fledged miracle we now behold it. 

Is thought evolved ? then thought, I dare affirm, 

Impregnated the primal cosmic germ. 

Your gospel is a worthy contribution, 
Far as it goes ; 1 thank you : yet I find, 

Scanning the puppet-show of Evolution, 
A vast unoutlined Presence moves behind 
The wavering screen that hides the Will and Mind ; 

And shows, according as you take your stand, 

More or less certain glimpses of a Hand. 



GUY VERNON. 2 1/ 



IX. 

Trailing far back upon the blue Atlantic 

Its smoky banner ; through the warm Gulf Stream 

Rolling its white wake ; with the slow, gigantic 
One arm of its for-ever-beckoning beam ; 
Panting, with heart of fire and breath of steam, 

The strong ship kept as I set out to say 

Its steady northward course day after day. 

The passengers, beneath the welcome shade 

Of awnings over all the vessel spread, 
Fanned by the sea-breeze which their own speed made, 

Lounged half asleep, smoked, walked, and talked, 
and read, 

Or watched the flocking gulls that came and fled, 
Now circled close in quest of food, then fought, 
Far back, about some morsel one had caught. 

Two days of calm ; when all the sea seemed one 
Vast fluctuating field of satin sheen, 

Rolling and undulating in the sun, 

With evanescent gloss of gold and green : 
No land at last, not even a sail was seen, 

Nor any steadfast thing to rest the eyes on, 

Within the circle of the sea s horizon. 



2l8 GUY VERNON. 



The bird of love, in days so truly halcyon, 
Upon the billows well might build her nest ! 

And then the nights ! when flashed the moon s bright 

falchion 

Across old Ocean s palpitating breast; 
When, watching, lingering later than the rest, 

Our lover-friends, forgetting all prudential 

Considerations, grew quite confidential. 

He, rapt, devoted, with no thought of wronging 
Vernon or her : she, free from ill intent, 

Needing the counsels of a friend, and longing 
For sympathy, if that be innocent, 
Confessed the dreadful, sudden, sad event, 

Which, falling so mysteriously, bereft her 

Almost of reason when her husband left her. 

" We were so happy ! I was just beginning 

To learn how dear he was ! " Lome s spirits fell. 

" O, do you think I ve any chance of winning 
His love again ? " Poor Robert could not tell. 
" I ve still one friend, thank Heaven ! " That 
pleased him well. 

" I ve never seen a happy moment since, 

And never shall again ! " which made him wince. 



GUY VERNON. 219 



" What do you think what could have been the 

trouble ? " 
Revolving his conjectures, Lome let fall, 

" The bursting of a speculative bubble." 
" I shall be happy yet, if that is all, 
And he is left me ! " Somehow this was gall. 

" But oh, we never shall be reunited, 

I know ! " at which the villain was delighted. 

" He may be I m afraid " she hesitated : 

" That is, I hope, I trust it isn t true ! " 
" Some men get jealous," Robert intimated. 

" Jealous, I mean ; and how absurd ! of you. 

Oh dear, we must not sit here as we do, 
And talk together ! Rob, it isn t right ! " 
But still they talked together, day and night. 

And Robert wished (as many on like occasion 
Wish as devoutly) that the voyage might never 

On earth arrive at any termination, 

But to the havens of bliss fare on for ever ! 
Dreading the end, which all too soon would sever 

This highly satisfactory arrangement, 

And bring perhaps, with parting, fresh estrangement. 



220 GUY VERNON. 



X. 

On the third morning something seemed the matter as 
Lome went on deck : the winds were piping madly ; 

The ship was toiling somewhere off Cape Hatteras, 
Breasting the waves and spray, and pitching badly ; 
Few faces seen, and those looked blue, and sadly 

Dispirited : with the rising of the seas, 

The mercury d sunk, some twenty-five degrees. 

The call to breakfast that sweet note of warning 
To hungry passengers was something few heard, 

And fewer still obeyed, that dismal morning. 

Here with his steaks came staggering up a steward ; 
There as they gave a sudden lurch to leeward 

A pale wretch, crawling in with some ability, 

Shot out again with singular agility. 

The dishes rattled and the coffee spilled, 
And over all, instead of general mirth, 

A ghastly gloom the dreary cabin filled : 

No ladies seen, the saddest thing on earth 
To Lome ; who, losing heart, back to his berth 

Groped wretchedly, at length, and laid himself 

Quietly on that dormitory shelf. 



GUY VERNON. 221 



Of all things unromantic and accursed, 

To interrupt a pretty love affair, 
Sea-sickness is the meanest and the worst ! 

That is a woe devotion cannot share ; 

Nor can one be expected much to care 
Whether the hungry heart shall feed or famish, 
When at each roll the stomach s growing qualmish. 

For six-and-thirty hours the gale continued, 

And some weak souls on board had fears of sinking ; 

But still triumphantly the iron-sinewed, 

Grim Titan faced the billows without blinking. 
Lome kept his berth, and passed the time in thinking, 

In sending now and then to make inquiry 

For some one s health, and scribbling in his diary. 

Five days from port, at midday, they made entry 
Into Manhattan bay : the wind was bracing, 

The storm had lulled, the skies were bleak and wintry, 
And strange appeared the leafless trees, the lacing 
Of snows on roof and shore, so soon replacing, 

To eyes filled with the south, the glorious calms, 

The fruits and foliage of the land of palms. 



222 GUY VERNON. 



The passengers, now muffled to the ears, 

Watched the slow steamer gliding to the dock, 

The tugs, the lighters, and the ship-lined piers, 
The river ice in many a mottled block, 
And on a drifting mass the latest flock 

Of gulls, just lighted, heading all one way, 

Towards the cold wind that beat the ruffled bay. 

Lome lingered near Florinda, dull and dreamy : 
" And so we part I " he said. " But not for long," 

She answered sweetly. " You will come and see me 
To-morrow soon I know you will be strong, 
And not do any thing that might seem wrong ! 

When one has friends, one wishes to be near them ; 

But folks will talk so, tis a shame to hear them ! 

" I shall be watched now, quoted, and reported. 

I d have my independence if I could ! 
But, really, Rob, a woman can t afford it, 

To have her motives all misunderstood ! 

So now I m sure you will be very good, 
And not extend your courtesies too far, 
But always seem well, just the friend you are ! " 



GUY VERNON. 223 



Lome was not happy : outwardly heroieal, 

He helped her to a coach : she smiled : he bowed ; 

Then, with despair at heart, stood stern and stoical 
Amidst the beckoning, hauling, bawling crowd 
Of hackmen (so unreasonably loud !) 

And watched the rattling vehicle that carried her 

Back to her Brooklyn home, where Vernon married her. 



PART III. 
THE FORSAKEN BRIDE. 

I. 

I^ORESEEING all her friends immense astonishment, 
Going to meet it with an equal dread, 

Florinda gave her maid a strict admonishment 
Just what to say, and what to leave unsaid, 
To questions soon to shower upon her head ; 

For, first suspicions having proved unjust, 

The girl was granted all the greater trust. 

Deep was the dear old Aunt s amazement, meeting 
At the hall door the unexpected bride. 

Then, having passed the first tumultuous greeting, 
" Your husband, Florie ! where is he ? " she cried, 
Still more bewildered ; while the niece replied, 

" Some sudden and important information 

Obliged him to return by his plantation." 



GUY VERNON. 225 



" Without his bride ! " " Why, Aunt, twas getting late 
Twas not thought best that I should risk my health. 

The owner of so splendid an estate 

Of course is burdened with the cares of wealth. 
In politics he mixes too by stealth 

For he is quite above those sordid natures 

That fill our congresses and legislatures. 

" We came directly by the boat so pleasant ! 

I missed my dearest husband, I confess, 
But O dear Aunt ! who do you think was present 

Among the passengers ? You cannot guess ! 

Surely there s no one / expected less 
To see on board than Mr. Robert Lome ! 
He treated me at first with downright scorn, 

" As if I d really done him some great evil. 

/ could not speak to him, and why should he seek 

An interview ? But he at length grew civil, 
And sent his brandy-flask when I was sea-sick, 
(The lightest gale is certain to make me sick !) 

An offer which I couldn t well refuse, 

Though brandy J s something which I never use. 

15 



226 GUY VERNON. 



11 We had two days of most distressing weather ! 

I could have envied martyrs on the rack. 
I do not think I cared a pin s weight whether 

I lived or died ! I m so glad to get back ! 

Robert was kind, and helped us to a hack ; 
Of course I had to ask the man to call, 
Or show him no civility at all." 

Truth, every word ; though it perhaps may strike 
The reader as too gingerly expressed. 

Women and Truth, I find, depend alike, 

For their effect, upon the way they re dressed. 
I like for both a simple garment best ; 

But nothing can exceed a woman s tact 

In fancy-dressing both herself and Fact. 

Do not too hastily infer that woman 
Is guilty of downright equivocation. 

It is not only feminine, but human, 
To modify by phrase and intonation 
Truth s simple theme, till, through the variation 

Sometimes embroidered on the homely air, 

You hardly guess what good old tune is there. 



GUY VERNON. 22/ 



II. 

The bride, whose coming was a nine-days wonder, 
Received in Brooklyn, where her court was held, 

So many callers that they fairly stunned her ; 
Not old friends only ; but her train was swelled 
By more whom love of novelty impelled, 

And some who thought it worth their while to seek 

The charming Mrs. Vernon for their clique. 

With all the rest, but from a different motive, 

Went Lome, and but a sad appearance made he. 

So have I seen a worshipper with votive 

Offerings approach some altar of Our Lady, 
To find a crowd of tourists there already, 

Airing their guide-books, venturing praise or stricture 

Upon this sacred relic or that picture. 

The world soon wearies of a stale sensation ; 

And as the swift weeks came and went without 
Bringing Guy Vernon back from his plantation, 

People began to shake their heads, and doubt ; 

Till something of the secret had leaked out, 
One scarce knows how : a little, I m afraid, 
Came through the indiscretion of the maid. 



228 GUY VERNON. 

With Robert Lome s, Florinda s name was coupled 
In terms uncomplimentary to both. 

And so discreet Society grew troubled : 

Twas shocked, distressed : it pitied her ; twas loath 
To think what had been told it under oath ! 

In short, it never, never could esteem her, 

After her shameful conduct on the steamer ! 

" He followed her upon her wedding journey, 
And there in Cuba showed her such devotion ! 

Vernon was out one day : on his return, he 
Well, all I know is, there was an explosion ! 
Just what the man discovered, I ve no notion ; 

I only say, he left her in Havana, 

And hurried off next day to Louisiana, 

" Cursing, no doubt, the hour when he was wedded ! " 
Which was not white and stainless truth, we know, 

But held some darker substances imbedded : 
Just one of Rumor s rolling balls of snow, 
That pick up sticks and rubbish as they go : 

The farther they are rolled, the more they gather ; 

And suburbs are the place for rubbish, rather. 



GUY VERNON. 22Q 



This to Florinda was a fearful trial, 
Added to that which secretly she bore ; 

For now no explanation, no denial, 

Not truth itself, which might have served before, 
Could kill reports, but only raise up more. 

In fine, her double-burden so unfitted her 

For life itself that you would quite have pitied her. 

A common scandal is a borrowed tool 

Passing from hand to hand, yet never losing 

Its edge by any ordinary rule, 

Battered and blunted by severe abusing 

But, like a cat s claw, it grows sharp with using ; 

Whose softer part wears faster from the friction, 

Leaving the other keen, for your affliction. 

III. 

No word from Vernon ; though she wrote and pleaded 
Until that rascal, Saturn, must have laughed ! 

Her love and grief remained alike unheeded : 
But as each month came round, a princely draft 
Shot at her heart its cruel golden shaft ; 

Arid in the very thickest of the slander 

There came a note from " Samuel Alexander." 



230 GUY VERNON. 



For so the Varlet signed himself ; and truly, 
A singular performance was this letter ! 

He begged to say that Mr. V. was duly 
Regretful that he must remain her debtor 
For correspondence until he was better : 

He had been slightly ill of late ; beside, 

He was just then extremely occupied. 

" The business which has brought us here " (I quote 
From Saturn s postscript) " is not yet quite ended." 

Again, in Postscript Number Two, he wrote : 
" Be easy, Madam ; he is well attended, 
And, every thing considered, doing splendid ! 

Please, Madam, do not write again, but wait." 

The missive, I should mention, bore no date. 

Twas a distressing riddle : heart and brain 
Were racked and puzzled by it many a day. 

" He must be ill ! " but that did not explain 
His parting from her in that cruel way, 
His long, mysterious silence, and delay 

On that strange business, too much occupied 

To write one line to bis forsaken bride ! 



GUY VERNON. 231 



From her good Aunt she got but little solace, 
A woman of confirmed opinions, blest 

With little patience for a young girl s follies ; 
Who doubted not her niece had lost the best, 
Most generous, most devoted, handsomest 

Of husbands, through her own infatuation ; 

But deemed the monthly draft a consolation. 

Friends do not like to own that ever any 
Advice of theirs in any way was bad. 

So in Florinda s circle there were many 

Who, though the sequel to the match was sad, 
Blamed her for all the ill success it had ; 

While others would not willingly admit 

That ever they approved or counselled it. 

The World, it may be said, dropped her acquaintance ; 
But there were those who could not keep away, 

Who came to witness suffering and repentance, 
To talk the matter over every day, 
To know just how she felt, what she would say : 

So she had more than one friend who stuck by her, 

Though something in the fashion of a brier. 



232 GUY VERNON. 



IV. 

For Lome the starry skies of Love had brightened 
When her full-mooned renown began to wane ; 

But soon the cloud of ill report had frightened , 
Both back to their discreet reserve again. 
Hardly could he that stormy heart restrain, 

Which sometimes drove him now as if a very 

Demon possessed him down to Brooklyn ferry ! 

It was his own imprudence that involved her 
In this vile coil, he thought with penitence. 

How tenderly his own great love absolved her 
Of every fault but that sweet confidence 
Which proved to him her very innocence ! 

He burned to be her champion, but forbore, 

Knowing that he could only harm her more. 

He plunged in work : his Southern notes he winnowed 
And, much as he a mean deception spurned, 

In corresponding with the press, continued 

To date from countries whence he had returned, 
If he indeed had seen them ; and so learned 

The art imaginative and dramatic 

Of writing foreign letters from an attic. 



GUY VERNON. 233 



His friends averred that he could never gain 

A handsome independence by his pen, 
And marvelled why such genius should remain 

A beggar in a barren garret, when 

He might, like many far less able men, 
Become a lawyer, or a politician, 
And strike for office, fortune, and position. 

V. 

His lodging overlooked, in the Metropolis, 
A narrow business street, not over nice, 

But unromantically over-populous ; 

Where, much against the aforesaid friends advice, 
He kept on writing at a moderate price, 

Pieces pathetic, picturesque, or funny, 

Which gained for him much credit, and some money. 


One April afternoon, as he sat writing, 

Buried in books and papers to the chin, 
Where the high luthern window let the light in, 
A hand scarce heard above the incessant din 
Of the loud street tapped at his door. " Come in ! " 
He shouted out, in tones not over-civil, 
Expecting no one but the printer s devil. 



234 GUY VERNON. 



Then, too intently occupied to stop, he 

Still studying an unfinished period 
Over his shoulder reached a roll of copy, 

Giving a little sidelong careless nod ; 

But thought the fellow s movements rather odd, 
Turned slowly, gazed, rand just escaped capsizing 
His loaded table in his hasty rising. 

He stands and stammers, so confused and vexed is he 
At his own awkward blunder ; but, O heaven ! 

What sudden joy, what thrilling, boundless ecstasy, 
When from a woman s veil one glance is given, 
And, like a panting fawn to covert driven, 

Pale, with a look of exquisite concern on 

Her fair, sweet face, behold Florinda Vernon ! 

VI. 

He sprang to meet her, eager hands outreaching 
To clasp, to bless her ; but as he .came near, 

She started from him with a strange, beseeching, 
Wild look, in which there was a mingled fear. 
" O Rob," she cried, " I m crazy to be here ! 

What would they now say if they only knew it ! 

I can t myself conceive what made me do it ! 



GUY VERNON. 235 



" I know you 11 think me dreadfully immodest ! 
O Rob ! it isn t a mere girlish freak ! " 

But here she paused, being so tightly bodiced, 
And out of breath from climbing stairs, and weak 
From agitation, that she could not speak ; 

When seeing her grow faint and gasp for air, 

He thought at last to offer her a chair. 

Her maid, in his place, would have guessed the matter, 

Have found her corset, and at once unlaced it. 
But Rob could only stand there staring at her, 
And bring some sherry, begging her to taste it ; 
Which she but touched, then on the table placed it ; 
And, having now recovered from her faintness, 
Looked up at him and smiled with charming quaintness. 

" This is a scene ! I m horribly ashamed ! 
You must not blame me ! " quickly growing serious. 

" I m stifled ! O dear ! Robert," she exclaimed, 
" I ve come on business something quite imperious ; " 
And, lest the lady s interlude should weary us, 

We 11 simply add that, while he sprang to get her 

Some sort of fan, she pulled out Saturn s letter. 



236 GUY VERNON. 

She talked to him about it while he read it, 
Fanning herself incessantly, and weeping ; 

Told him of all she suffered, all she dreaded : 
The mystery haunted her awake or sleeping ; 
And, O, it never could be solved ! Then, leaping 

To a most sudden, woman-like conclusion, 

She begged, entreated him for a solution. 

VII. 

" Well, looking at it in a business way," 

Said Lome, " as if I now first heard the tale, 

And did not know the parties, I should say 
Guy Vernon was a felon, out on bail ; 
I think he s now convicted, and in jail. 

Summoned to trial under his indictment 

That s what his strange despair and sudden flight meant, 

" When he had hoped to quash it, all the time." 

" O Rob, you do not think so ! " " Well, why not ? 

It may have been some gentlemanly crime 
A duel, and his adversary shot 
The southern blood, you know, is quick and hot." 

" No, no ! " she cried, " that s not like him ! The duellist 

Is of all men, I ve heard him say, the cruelest ! 



GUY VERNON. 237 



" He hates the code ! although at first I feared 
That he was challenged, and was going to fight. 

But, grant it all, the mystery is not cleared : 
Why treat me so ? and why could he not write 
One letter, even in jail ? " Says Rob, " You re right." 

And, on examination, thus they found, 

That theory was not altogether sound. 

" There is," said Lome, " one other explanation 
But that, I know, you will not like to hear. 

And yet," he said, with painful hesitation, 
" No other seems to make the matter clear. 
Suppose he had been summoned to appear 

And meet a different trial in his life ? 

I mean, your husband has another wife." 

This she opposed with vehement persistency. 

" O Rob, it is a monstrous thought ! O no ! 
And yet," she said, with feminine consistency, 

" He must have had another wife, I know, 

For nothing else could separate us so ! 
I did not think my husband was so bad ! 
Say something, Robert, or I shall go mad ! " 



238 GUY VERNON. 



" My dear ! " cries Lome, " twas only a suggestion ! " 
And yet the theory seemed not wholly wrong : 

It answered, too, the old provoking question, 
What kept our beau a bachelor so long ? 
" The wretch," she sobbed, " was married all along ! 

He may have had a dozen wives beside, 

And may be finding now another bride ! 

" And I am not his wife at all ! " Lome trembled 
At all these wildly uttered words implied : 

Her hand was free, then ! But his soul dissembled 
Its secret joy ; while he sincerely tried 
To think but of her grief. " Why now," he cried, 

" You re driving my conjecture quite too far : 

Tis only in romance that such things are. 

" Vernon is not a murderer, nor a forger, 
Nor jealous fool, as far as we can know ; 

Nor Bluebeard, looking for more wives to torture ; 
Nor bankrupt as the drafts they send you show ; 
Nor varlet s tool and victim : far below 

Our present knowledge and my comprehension 

The mystery lurks, and baffles my invention ! " 



GUY VERNON. 239 



" You do not think," she said, " he is a gambler, 
That Saturn aids him in that horrid vice ? 

Or is he just a wanton, reckless rambler ? 
Never did I discover card or dice ! 
O Rob," she pleaded, " give me some advice ! 

Pity my wretched, my forlorn condition ! " 

And so, at last, he made this proposition : 

" I have a correspondent, George Lazell, 
A classmate and old crony, studying law 

There in New Orleans : I have known him well : 
One of the quickest wits you ever saw 
To prove a question or to pick a flaw. 

I Ve not the slightest doubt he can unravel 

This riddle, with a little time and travel. 

" With your consent, I 11 put him in possession " 
Florinda shuddered " of the whole affair, 

And leave its management to his discretion, 
Which can be trusted : give him but a hair, 
And he will track the mystery to its lair, 

Work up the case, and leave no point neglected, 

To keep your action in it unsuspected." 



240 GUY VERNON. 



She first approved the plan, then straight repented : 
It would not do she dared not ! twas not right ! 

Then, after many doubts and sighs, consented, 
And hurried home, Rob promising to write 
The letter to his friend that very night ; 

But she next morning sent a note to say 

It must not go when it was on its way. 

VIII. 

Ah, then, for her what days of expectation, 
Of curiosity akin to fear ; 

Of baffled hope, and causeless trepidation 

At sound or sight ! a voice she chanced to hear, 
Perhaps the liveried footman drawing near, 

Who came like Fate, and idly went his way, 

Leaving a desolate and empty day. 

The weeks went by and brought no revelation, 
And letters came she did not care to read. 

But now she had one secret consolation, 

And, O, what harm, if in her heart s great need 
She sometimes went to him ? What harm indeed, 

But that imprudence is the door to sin, 

And one small fault may let large vices in. 



GUY VERNON. 241 



To tempted souls there is delight in danger, 
And then the provocation seems complete > 

When Marriage, like a mastiff in the manger, 
But guards the morsel which it may not eat, 
And Love and Daring find that morsel sweet ! 

Don t blame your wife too much, sir ; but consider, 

Perhaps your coldness or neglect undid her. 

A little pressure of the hand, returning 
Another s pressure ; eyebeams free as air ; 

The lonely heart s unutterable yearning, 
All this even Innocence itself may share : 
And then a kiss is but a kiss beware ! 

It is a little mouse that gnaws the net 

Around a mighty lion : guard him yet ! 

The world is full of pining hearts mismated, 
And still they will mismate, and still will pine. 

Is thy sweet hunger never to be sated, 
O Love ? But Duty also is divine ; 
And Passion finds a poison in the wine, 

In secret, at a stolen banquet poured, 

When holy Conscience blesses not the board. 

16 



242 GUY VERNON. 



On every side conflicting voices call ; 
And we must reconcile as best we can 

The rights of each and the great good of all, 
The claims of Nature and the laws of man, 
The problem since Society began ! 

O troubled soul ! be tender, wise, and true, 

And tis beginning to be solved for you. 



PART IV. 
THE LOST BRIDEGROOM. 

I. 

~\ /TEANWHILE Lazell accepted the commission ; 

Though it was long before he could report. 
He moved with all the caution and precision 

Of any practised diplomat at court, 

Or strategist advancing on a fort ; 
And twas no fault of his if something less 
Was compassed than unqualified success. 

All Lome could tell him of the strange event, 
Or he himself could learn at Guy s plantation, 

Or at the bank from which the drafts were sent, 
Or elsewhere, bearing on the situation, 
Was added carefully to his equation, 

When, by no common difficulties daunted, he 

Essayed to cipher out the unknown quantity. 



244 GUY VERNON. 



II. 

He wrote to Lome of every thing, confessing 
" It makes me, Rob, exceedingly dejected, 

To find that here s a riddle there s no guessing 
From all the facts so carefully collected. 
The man is known, and everywhere respected ; 

If a great villain, he must be a rare actor, 

Still to preserve so excellent a character. 

" Here in the city, and at his estate, 

His friends, when questioned, commonly replied, 

1 We haven t seen nor heard from him, of late ; 
But he was here last winter with his bride. 
If he s here now, why, then, we must decide, 

Be what he may, whatever else he lacks, 

He has the art of covering up his tracks. 

" I don t believe he s in these parts at all ! 

I m wrong, no doubt you think : perhaps I am : 

For his man Alexander, whom they call 

* Big Sandy here, or sometimes Dandy Sam, 
That gorgeous graft upon the stock of Ham, 

Has been at V. s plantation, and in town ; 

Though I could not contrive to hunt him down. 



GUY VERNON. 245 



" I followed that embodied Will-o -wisp 

From place to place, in hopes to overhaul 

A waistcoat and the waxed ends of a crisp, 
Pointed mustache : the trail was now so small, 
I vowed that he, too, was not here at all ; 

Then I could swear so great the rumor grew of him, 

And he was here and there so there were two of him ! 

" Twas now a flying visit to the bank 
On Vernon s business, if indeed it be 

Not more his own than Vernon s : to be frank, 
I ve not the slightest doubt but it is he 
Who sends the monthly draft to Mrs. V. 

In Vernon s name there is a large deposit, 

But tis this Dandy Sam who always draws it. 



" When I rushed in to catch him there, I learned 
That he was up the river, on the estate j 

And though I had but recently returned 
From reconnoitring thereabouts, with great 
Celerity and caution back there straight 

I sped, to pounce upon him like a cougar 

Pretending always to be buying sugar. 



246 GUY VERNON. 



" It seemed as if some magic must have aided 
To screen a fellow of so great renown, 

For he had vanished, somehow separated, 
And gone, part up the river, and part down, 
Half to the northward, and half back to town 

So said two sets of persons who had seen him, 

And it was just my luck to pounce between him. 

" V. s is the best plantation in the parish, 
Perhaps the very finest in the State ; 

The mansion, truly elegant, not garish ; 
Yet Vernon never stays there long of late ; 
And Sam an object of especial hate 

To every one, from Cuff to overseer 

Gomes only now and then to domineer. 

" The people say that Vernon s with his wife 
Somewhere up North, the general opinion. 

I Ve learned from them a little of his life : 
He is by birth and breeding a Virginian, 
Who emigrated from the Old Dominion 

Twelve years ago if that be emigration, 

To take possession of an old plantation. 



GUY VERNON. 247 



" Of the Virginia servants two alone, 
Sam and an aged negress, now remain ; 

The latter very deaf : her wits have flown 
Back to the deepening twilight of her brain, 
So that, I find, there is not much to gain 

By sounding that dim cave, to bring the bats 

Zizzagging aimlessly around our hats. 

" Yet some things this old creature has let fall 
To others, which, whatever they may mean, 

Are worth perhaps the trouble to recall : 

How Vernon s mother perished of some keen 
Heart-piercing anguish and how she has seen 

The father, ghastly pale, perspiring clammily 

Over some fearful secret in the family. 

" Whether that secret be the same as this 

Which we would fathom, can but be suspected ; 

For secret most assuredly there is, 

And with it Sam is certainly connected ; 
Whose will has so mysteriously subjected 

His master s, that you hear it said, he runs 

Vernon and his plantation both at once. 



248 GUY VERNON. 



" This is by no means Mr. Vernon s first 
Mysterious disappearance, as I find ; 

Though, on his wife s account, it seems the worst 
And strangest case of absence of the kind. 
Suddenly he or Sam makes up his mind, 

And, presto ! like the slipperiest of debtors, 

He s off, beyond the reach of friends or letters. 

" So said, at least, my friend the overseer ; 
Declaring in half-earnest, grisly fun, 

Twas his conviction, that for many a year 
Vernon at stated intervals has done 
Some private business with the Evil One, 

Which claims, in spite of friendship or the ladies, 

His personal attention down in Hades ! " 

Thus wrote to Robert Lome the young attorney, 
To whom the curious case had been confided ; 

Adding, " Without another, longer journey, 
I fear the question cannot be decided. 
You may no doubt accomplish more than I did, 

And gain some knowledge, or obtain some trace, 

Of Vernon, on the Old Virginia place." 



GUY VERNON. 249 



III. 

This letter, which had been so long awaited, 
Caused in the wife an easy transformation : 

The fever-pulse of hope and fear abated ; 

And with the lapse of high-wrought expectation, 
There came a sudden, dangerous relaxation 

Of those firm principles which hitherto 

Had kept her, through all perils, pure and true. 

Now all her sinking, unsupported heart 

Reached out for love, trembling and insecure. 

And so one day she dressed herself to start 
Upon a fashionable shopping-tour, 
Which one might safely prophesy was sure 

To have a rather un-aristocratic, 

Impulsive ending, in a young man s attic. 

A coach was called ; and soon a coach came dinning 
Its music in her ears \ and, pondering more 

The journey s joyous end than its beginning, 
She hurried forth ; but stopped, aghast, before 
Some legs in the just-opened carriage-door, 

Which to her startled gaze so much resembled 

A missing pair, that she stood still and trembled. 



2 5 GUY VERNON. 



11 Florinda ! " said a voice ; and some one, rising, 

Peered out then even the sky turned black above 
her! 

As well it might : what could be more surprising 
To the young wife, just going to meet her lover, 
Than thus inopportunely to discover 

A terrible reminder of her marriage, 

In her own husband stepping from a carriage ! 

IV. 

Fainting is commonplace, even in romances ; 
So let us say that, after some disorder, 

When she was lying on a lounge, and Nancy s 
Care and cologne had partially restored her, 
She heard a voice which tenderly implored her 

To calm herself ; and, opening her eyes, 

Found that it was indeed her dear, lost Guy s ! 

She sat right up and stared him in the face, 
Half-doubtful if she really were beholding 

Her husband or a spectre in his place, 

And half inclined to give him a good scolding ; 
Then pulled away the hand which he was holding, 

And dropped some passionate tears ; but, for a miracle, 

Was neither sentimental nor hysterical. 



GUY VERNON. 251 

" Our sudden meeting has quite overcome you ! 
You blame me ! but you do not know how strong 

Was the necessity which kept me from you. 

Although my absence has been strange and long, 
I Ve done no needless or intended wrong, 

Believe me, love ! " a bit of an oration, 

Too evidently studied for the occasion. 

Even honest men, with something to conceal, 
Not daring quite to trust the impetuous heart 

To speak directly what they deeply feel 5> 
Are sometimes tempted to prepare the part 
Which they are called to act, and at the start 

Put on the spirit so to speak a manacle, 

Which makes their words seem formal and mechanical. 

Twas thus with Vernon, if I err not greatly : 

His tongue was frigid, while his heart was torrid. 

And when she saw him, elegant and stately, 

With calm locks brushed across his bald white fore 
head, 
Still slightly corpulent and somewhat florid, 

In health, addressing her with all the awful ease 

Of some well-combed and courtly Mephistopheles, 



252 GUY VERNON. 



As if the past were no such dreadful load, 

She looked at him amazed, and almost frightened, 

(Forgetting quite the little episode 

By which for her the burden had been lightened,) 
And felt the horror of the mystery heightened, 

But neither made complaint nor exclamation 

Only her eyes demanding explanation. 

V. 

" You were not looking for me in the coach ? 
You did not get my letter, then ! " She darted 

At him a look of terrible reproach : 

" Never," she cried, and now the deep sobs started, 
" Never a line from you since last we parted ! 

Little I dreamed when, yielding my consent, 

I signed that dreadful paper 1 what it meant ! " 

Just then the maid, a letter in her hand 
(She had been listening at the door until 

That instant), entered : " This was on the stand ; 
It must have come just now when you were ill." 
Florinda took it, but without a thrill : 

The flowers of hope, which we too long await, 

May lose their bloom and come at last too late ! 

1 By the Cuban passport system quite too strict in some points, but 
perhaps not in this the husband who has lately taken his wife into the 



GUY VERNON. 253 



Post-marked New Orleans, July twenty-third ; 
The date conspicuously a fortnight older ; 

Written in Guy s fair hand (but not a word 

To show where it was penned), the letter told her 
How fondly he looked forward to behold her, 

And prove his heart s devotion soon once more, 

Their trials passed, and happier days in store. 

This missive, which she read through flashing tears, 
After its meagre contents were made out 

She tossed to Guy ; who colored to the ears, 
Comparing date and postmark : he no doubt 
(She thought) had mailed it in some roundabout, 

Strange way, that his retreat might not be traced, 

And afterwards outrun it in his haste. 

Then suddenly the sense of her great wrong 

Possessed her and to make the story brief - 

She sobbed so strongly, and she sobbed so long, 
It seemed her soul could never find relief 
To its wild, inextinguishable grief, 

Which sighs but fanned, and tears in vain might 
drench, 

Like that Greek fire which water will not quench. 

island cannot obtain his permit to leave without her, unless he first exhibits at 
the Bureau her written consent. Probably this is what Florinda alludes to. 



254 GUY VERNON. 



VI. 

"Florinda! " said Guy Vernon, very grave, 

When she could hear him, studying now no more 

What he should say, or how he should behave, 

"There s something which I should have said 

before 
And would to Heaven that it might now restore 

Our former happiness and dear repose, 

Lost through no weakness of my heart, Heaven knows ! 

" When first I saw and loved you I believed 

A certain crisis in my life was passed. 
Deceiving you, I was myself deceived, 

Trusting the last misfortune was the last : 

And still I held that fond delusion fast, 
And would not think what shadow of strange fate 
Lay on my life, until it was too late ! 

" All unprepared, you justly were offended, 

And filled, I know, with needless pain and dread. 

Now once again I think my troubles ended, 
And laid forever with the silent dead. 
Still let me say what then I should have said ; 

And guard the future, if in spite of all 

Precautions, evil should again befall." 



GUY VERNON. 255 



His trembling fingers for a moment flitted 

Across his brow ; and mind and frame were shaken ; 

Till, half-forgetting her own wrongs, she pitied 
His greater woe, and felt her love rewaken. 
" O, why was I so cruelly forsaken ? 

Left, a weak woman, in a land of strangers, 

Exposed " she thought of Robert " to such dangers ! 

" But that all that is now beyond recall. 

You too have suffered O for what, from whom ? 

All is forgiven, if you will tell me all ! " 

He turned away, and rose, and walked the room, 
Upon his front a thunder-cloud of gloom, 

And a portentous trouble in his eye ; 

Then paused, with downcast looks, and made reply. 

" The cause," he faltered, " never can be told ; 

We must not talk of that ! " Florinda felt 
Her heart grow suddenly all stony-cold, 

Which love and pity had begun to melt. 

" It was a dark necessity which dealt 
So sternly with us both : should you outlive me, 
You may know all, and then you will forgive me." 



256 GUY VERNON. 



He sank upon a chair, and once more covered 
His changing visage, now convulsed and wan, 

Where something of the awful anguish hovered, 
Which art has fixed immovably upon 
The deathless marble of Laocoon. 

Alarmed she turned, appearing not to heed it ; 

And, after a brief struggle, he proceeded. 

" Ask not the cause ; but should there come a time, 
When I once more may be compelled to leave you, 

Account not my necessity a crime ; 

Nor deem that I would willingly deceive you ; 
Nor let my going, nor my silence, grieve you ; 

But bear my absence which can never be 

So sad to you as terrible to me ! 

" That such a time may never come again, 
I do devoutly hope ! But it is just 

That you should know then if it comes O then " 
He lifted wide, imploring eyes "you must 
You will support me with your love and trust ! 

Let me, unquestioned, go and come at will : 

For only so can we be happy still ! " 



GUY VERNON. 257 



VII. 

So earnest was he, and so well she knew 
It would be vain and cruel to prolong 

The pain of that unhappy interview, 
That, though her curiosity was strong, 
And deep the old resentful sense of wrong, 

Two things with which the unregenerate heart 

Is apt to find it rather hard to part 

And though not much a heroine, she rose 
Heroically to the situation, 

And, prudently forbearing to oppose 
Profitless question or expostulation 
To these hard terms of reconciliation, 

Bowed her proud will, as do the wise, or just 

As you and I do, when we find we must. 

She yielded, and immediately repented, 

Foreseeing endless mystery, doubt, and slander. 

Nor can I say that she was quite contented, 
When Vernon told her, with surprising candor, 
" For your sake, I have banished Alexander ; 

Though, to relieve my mind of many cares, 

I still must let him manage my affairs." 



258 GUY VERNON. 



Which somehow did not please her altogether. 

But now the maid approached once more, to say 
The coachman at the door demanded whether 

She wished the carriage ordered, still to stay. 

" Why, no ! " she answered ; " send the man away." 
While sundry recollections rushing- over her, 
With quick, confusing blushes seemed to cover her. 

Ah, well her reawakened soul might shrink 
From the great peril that so late impended ! 

She shuddered at herself ; and feared to think 
How differently the morning might have ended, 
If all had happened as she first intended ; 

What misery and remorse might now await her, 

Had Vernon but arrived a minute later. 

So slight a finger-post of circumstance 

May turn one s fate ! But to the soul, the savor 

Of virtue saved, though saved by seeming chance, 
And though it have a certain homely flavor, 
Is sweet to taste, and sweeter grows forever ! 

While sin, so pleasant in the hour s swift haste, 

Is biting-bitter to the after-taste. 



GUY VERNON. 259 



She felt the joy of rescued rectitude ; 
And from the rankling cinders of regret 

Rose heavenward the pure flame of gratitude 
For her deliverance ; making her forget 
What unseen Woe might walk beside her yet : 

Her husband she regarded as her savior 

From her own wayward heart and weak behavior. 

The long-lost bridegroom s cloudy brow soon cleared, 
And even Florinda found new hope and peace 

In their reunion. Then the Aunt appeared, 
Flushed from the street, asthmatic and obese, 
And welcomed home the husband of her niece, 

With rapture : nothing could exceed the dear Aunt s 

Surprise and pleasure at his reappearance. 

VIII. 

Public opinion, having had satiety 

Of adverse gossip, now began to waver. 

Vernon had come ! and once more Good Society 
Inclined to take Florinda into favor. 
Those who had wronged her graciously forgave her, 

And, having spread the scandal, or received it, 

Loudly declared that they had not believed it. 



260 GUY VERNON. 



Vernon s return had virtually acquitted her 
Of every fault, those wary ones reflected. 

So, having wounded, they came round and pitied her 
And it was Vernon s turn to be suspected 
A man who had so shamefully neglected 

That sadly injured and long-suffering one, 

As it appeared, for nothing she had done. 

But women and the world condone in men 
What they condemn in women without charity. 

And so when Vernon blossomed out again, 
A fashion-flower of such distinguished rarity, 
After his recent slight irregularity 

Of conduct, he was marvelled at ; acjmired, 

Gossiped about, and all the more desired. 

If men have manners, never mind their morals ! 
And do not make too close investigation 

Into the intrigues and domestic quarrels 

Of such as hold high cards of wealth and station : 
Why pass with scorn, or view with indignation, 

Or any thing so impolite as passion, 

A gentleman of fortune, or of fashion ? 



GUY VERNON. 261 



Society is full of politic, 

Smooth people, courteous, shunning all dissension, 

Who, should they find even Judas in their clique, 
Well-dressed, would treat him with polite attention, 
And hardly think it worth the while to mention 

That most unfortunate misunderstanding 

He is reported to have had a hand in. 

Behind this stucco of the world s politeness, 
I find some moral framework not amiss, 

To give the social fabric strength and lightness. 
The sculptured forms of strong, fair courtesies 
Uphold while they adorn the edifice 

Like Caryatides, whose true intent 

Is strength and grace, support and ornament. 



PART V. 

HUSBAND AND LOVER. 

I. 

T DO not say that Guy was to be sorted 

With wretches guilty of some heinous treason ; 

Only that he was quite absurdly courted 
To his annoyance : partly for which reason 
He hurried to the mountains for a season, 

With Mrs. Vernon, to piece on a truer 

And happier ending to their bridal tour. 

Happier no doubt it -was ; and yet not wholly 
Happy for either. Vernon was oppressed 

By a persistent, gentle melancholy : 

It seemed as if the world within his breast 
Were, like the peaceful world without, possessed 

By the sad spirit of the early Fall, 

Which in a pensive haze enveloped all. 



GUY VERNON. 263 



Florinda s heart still suffered from the sense 
Of hidden wrong, a constant, slow corroding ; 

Seeking for sympathy and confidence, 

She met the shadow of a vague foreboding ; 
And felt, beside, the ceaseless, secret goading 

Of her own conscience, and the thought of Lome, 

Deep in her heart an ever-present thorn. 

Moreover, she this startling fact discovered, 

Saturn was never very far away ! 
Wherever they might be, around them hovered 

The banished Varlet, like a bird of prey. 

He came on business ; but he seemed to stay 
For pleasure ; and she knew that Guy conferred 
In secresy with that forbidden bird. 

Which state of things she could at last endure 
No longer. " I entreat you, dear," she cried, 

" Take back the man you need him, I am sure 
For my sake ! I shall not be satisfied 
Until you do." But Vernon smiled and sighed. 

" I do not need him very much, I find, 

Save now and then. But you are very kind." 



264 GUY VERNON. 



Her pent-up passion now began to surge 
Within her, overleaping all discretion ; 

And pain and penitence combined to urge 
Her desperately on to make confession 
Of her first fault and subsequent transgression, 

In the wild hope that he might make as ample 

A revelation, following her example. 

II. 

Beside a torrent, on a great gray boulder, 
They rested, in a little paradise 

Of wood and stream : her hand was on his shoulder ; 
And full on him she turned her troubled eyes, 
Deep as the pools, reflecting deep blue skies, 

That trembled near them, fringed by the long lashes 

Of curved birch boughs and overleaning ashes. 

"O, will you let me speak ? I cannot bear 

This coldness and reserve ! " A quick flush came 

Into his cheek. " Dear, if we cannot share 
Each other s sorrows, even each other s shame, 
I feel that we are married but in name, 

And all our hopes of happiness must fail ! " 

The quick flush vanished, and his cheek grew pale. 



GUY VERNON. 265 



Her loosened scarf was trailing in the current, 
Fallen from her arm unheeded. Wildly blended 

With the tumultuous voices of the torrent, 
Thrillingly eloquent her own ascended 
The gamut of strong passion, till she ended 

With accusation of herself, and spoke 

Of Lome, when sobs convulsed her, and it broke. 

III. 

Thereupon Vernon, who sat strangely pallid, 
Finding her theme was not just what he feared, 

Though leading towards that danger, quickly rallied, 
And (miracle of married men !) appeared 
Quite unaccountably relieved and cheered, 

As if her fault gave life an added flavor, 

And she had really rendered him a favor. 

She recommenced her story ; but before 

She could make full confession, he broke in : 

" You will but give me pain by telling more ! 
Whatever your imprudence may have been, 
I know you have been guilty of no sin. 

You may have erred in wisdom, not in virtue ; 

That is yourself, and never could desert you." 



266 GUY VERNON. 



She tried to speak, but still he would not hear her. 

" There s no true marriage without trust ! " said he. 
" My perfect faith in you is as a mirror, 

In which your white unsullied soul I see. 

If you but have the same high trust in me, 
Which tis my life s endeavor to deserve, 
We shall not feel this coldness and reserve. 


" Obedience to this law alone secures 

True wedded bliss. This Robert I must know, 

And he shall be my friend, as he is yours. 

And like this mountain stream our life shall flow, 
As bright and happy " Here she quite let go 

The scarf her hand unconsciously was trailing, 

Which off upon the whirling stream went sailing. 

Away it floated, light as any feather; 

And he, before the waves could wholly wet it, 
Reckless alike of health and patent leather, 

With a resounding splash, jumped in to get it ; 

Less like a husband who might well have let it 
Await some prudent action, than a lover, 
Who for a glove would have gone in all over. 



GUY VERNON. 267 



The conversation, which was interrupted, 

Was not resumed ; and Vernon did not learn 

How far Florinda s heart had been corrupted ; 
Nor did he show thereat the least concern 
Or after-thought ; save that, on their return 

From travel, he reminded her to send 

Some sort of invitation to her friend. 

IV. 

A fine surprise, meanwhile which we must mention 

Awaited her and happily expressed 
The tender husband s delicate attention, 

Not only to her worldly interest, 

But to her lightest fancies, known or guessed. 
Out driving, they drew up before a brown 
Stone front, one day, on their return to town; 

And with a princeliness that had no precedence 
Even in his princely conduct, Vernon there 

Presented her a charming city residence, 

Finished and furnished with the greatest care, 
And filled with objects elegant and rare ; 

All in accordance with her utmost wishes, 

Even to the monogram upon the dishes. 



268 GUY VERNON. 



" All s yours : " he put a package in her hand : 
"These are insurance papers and the deed." 

" O, now," she said, " I think I understand ! " 
Seeing just then, with eyes too dim to read, 
From the back stairs a swarthy face recede, 

With points to its mustaches, and a pattern 

Of necktie that reminded her of Saturn. 

It was a jewel of a house ; in short, 

The very place where one might hope to drown 

Memories and cares of an uncanny sort, 
And set one s self serenely to live down 
Evil reports about one in the town, 

An easy matter in a neat, brown-stone, 

Luxurious little mansion of one s own. 

Fair fortune is a magic cloak, which renders 

Invisible the foibles of the wearer 
And like a lovely setting, outward splendors 

To dazzled eyes make what is fair seem fairer ; 

While loads of wealth no more exalt the bearer 
Unskilled in its fine uses, than the pack 
Of costly goods upon an ass s back. 



GUY VERNON. 269 



The Vernons were not of this vulgar class ; 

But polished ease and elegance of place 
Seemed native to them, as the lakelet s glass 

To the swan s form and duplicated grace. 

To their grand house thronged Flattery and Grimace ; 
And it became the favorite resort 
Of a small circle of the better sort. 

V. 

Of these was Lome, who nobly had subdued 
His heart meanwhile to sweet self-sacrifice 

And aspiration for his lady s good ; 

So that he now appeared to casual eyes 

No more Florinda s friend than he was Guy s. 

Blessed, if not happy, in a book of songs 

He forged his fancies and forgot his wrongs. 

He always saw the husband with the wife ; 

And him he studied with a most devout 
Desire to solve the mystery of his life ; 

But found not even a thread to ravel out. 

He went but seldom, wisely I ve no doubt ; 
Though Vernon always met him with a glow 
Of welcome which Florinda did not show. 



270 GUY VERNON. 



And was she happy ? Well, at least she seemed so, 
And that was something : often we care less 

For really being so, than being deemed so, 
And better bear the loss of happiness 
Than the world s comment on our ill success : 

Rather will Pride relinquish every vestige 

Of honest substance, than the phantom, prestige. 

Still something of this pride survived in her, 
In spite of suffering and humiliation ; 

And served to mould and finish, as it were, 
That placid mien and perfect modulation 
Of smile and speech, that so became her station, 

And masked in manners exquisitely charming, 

None guessed what thoughts distressful or alarming. 

Her fame was fair, her beauty shone full-orbed, 
Mid diamond stars and luminous clouds of shawls 

And laces : time and thought seemed all absorbed 
In dressing and undressing, making calls, 
In dinners, drives, receptions, operas, balls ; 

To cope with which, in all their gay confusion, 

Argues, if not great sense, some constitution. 



GUY VERNON. 2/1 



Vernon was ever ready to escort her 

In all these rounds of fashionable folly, 

In nothing would her loving husband thwart her, 
Although he .had not yet recovered wholly 
From his late, strange, autumnal melancholy : 

Far from attempting selfishly to stay it, he 

Joined with her in the giddy whirl of gayety. 

VI. 

A truer solace in the mind s resources 

Lome had meanwhile. There is a correlation 

Of spiritual as of material forces : 

The passions which we waste in dissipation, 
Swayed by the soul are tides of inspiration ; 

And the same power that devastates the bosom 

With tempests, reappears in bud and blossom. 

To reach somehow the good all men aspire ; 

But in our ignorance and impatience, we 
Encounter countless ills ; and find that fire, 

Which comforts, also will consume. Ah me ! 

How beautiful some broken lives might be, 
Did only mild and sane desires attend us, 
And not the overpowering and tremendous ! 



2/2 GUY VERNON. 



While love, debased, is like the prophet s rod, 
Which changed into a serpent on the ground, 

Exalted, t is the noblest gift of God, 

By beams of potent influence ring d around. 
With something of this glory Lome was crowned, 

Which rayed a subtle light into his look, 

And played about the pages of his book. 

All things he saw as symbols, in a splendor 
Of beauty and bright meanings not their own. 

There walked with him a Presence sweet and tender, 
By an unwonted light and joy made known, 
So that when loneliest he was least alone ; 

Tasting that ecstasy, or something near it, 

Which saints have in the presence of the Spirit. 

It seemed as if the staid old Universe, 

Moved by a more than Orphean inspiration, 

Did reel and dance into his joyous verse ; 
And it were all the business of Creation 
To masquerade to his imagination, 

In fleeting shapes, through whose thin veils he saw 

The gray old verities of Life and Law. 



GUY VERNON. 273 



Where is the key to this divine condition ? 

What is the flame that, touching brow and lips, 

Confers the poet s power of speech and vision ? 
Or leaves him in mysterious, dull eclipse, 
When neither toil nor prayer, nor all the whips 

And scourges of the conscience and the will, 

Can bring again the vision and the thrill ! 

In solitude, or in the busy street, 

Almost without his choice or his endeavor, 

His songs sung to him, and he found them sweet, 
So sweet and varied, that it seemed they never 
Might cease again, but so sing on forever ! 

A possibility which looms appalling, 

In some who have the choice and not the calling. 

Strange seemed sometimes the sound of his own name, 

An echo of some far-off memory ! 
But from Florinda now a summons came, 

That broke this bubble of bright ecstasy. 

" For my sake, for my husband s, come to me ! " 
She wrote, or words of like portentous presage ; 
And off went Lome, obedient to the message. 

18 



274 GUY VERNON. 



VII. 

As he was hasting down Broadway, before 
The entrance to a showy lodging-house 

He spied a coach, into whose open door 

With most dejected mien and haggard brows 
Stepped Vernon ; while with deprecating bows 

A gay mulatto gently pressed him through, 

Then quickly followed, and the" door clapped to. 

" Saturn, by Heaven ! " thought Rob, as off they sped. 

It happened in a moment ; but this chance 
To the astonished Lome interpreted 

Florinda s business with him in advance ; 

For it had taken but a passing glance 
To see in Vernon s singular appearance 
Something that called for friendly interference. 

He hurried to the house. He had not seen her 
For many days, and was dismayed to find 

How changed she was in feature and demeanor, 
Frantic in action and half-crazed in mind ; 
For, meeting him, she left her mask behind ; 

And flung herself before him with a cry, 

Grief in her speech and frenzy in her eye. 



GUY VERNON. 2?$ 



VIII. 

" O Rob ! " she cried, " I have no friend but you ! 
And you must help me for no other can ! " 

" I know," he said : " he s gone ! What can I do ? " 
" Oh ! if you could have seen him when he ran 
Shrieking away O save me from that man / 

But it was sadder still to see him cower 

And yield, when Saturn had him in his power, 

" And coldly thrust me off, and hear him say 
He went of his own will ! It is not so ! 

That dreadful man has taken him away 

For his own selfish ends which I will know ! 
If ever you would serve me, Robert, go ! 

Follow that fiend, before it is too late, 

And save my husband from some horrid fate ! " 

Lome tells what he has seen : yet small the hope 
That ever he can get on Saturn s trace : 

And how can one like him expect to cope 
With a great villain of such crafty ways ? 
Still, eager to assist her, he obeys ; 

Receives her blessing in their brief adieux, 

And money, which he cannot well refuse. 



276 GUY VERNON. 

No sooner left alone than, recollecting 

What Guy before had told her of his going, 

Which was not to be questioned ; and reflecting 
How much more fatal sometimes is the knowing 
Of hidden things than all the evil growing 

Out of the things themselves while they are hidden ; 

And what a thankless errand she had bidden 

Her friend perform, she wished to call him back ; 
But quieted her conscience with the thought 

That he could hardly get upon their track, 
That they who had so many times been sought 
Vainly by others, were not to be caught. 

Then in a strong revulsion of distress, 

Clasping wild hands, she prayed for his success. 



PART VI. 
SATURN. 

I. 

T ORNE undertook the business with a zeal 

"^ And promptness hardly to have been expected. 

The lodging-house had little to reveal, 

And yet one clew that Saturn had neglected 
Showed where his baggage went, and where he 

checked it 

For a swift western train that afternoon, 
Which Lome, this point decided, followed soon. 

And now commenced the rather curious chase 
Of the escaping husband by the lover. 

Mid crossing trains Lome often lost the trace 
Whereby he hoped to hunt the pair to cover, 
Which happy chances helped him to recover, 

A friendly clerk or baggageman, somewhere, 

Remembering Saturn s face and foppish air. 



GUY VERNON. 



At last he seemed to lose it altogether 
Upon the Mississippi ; where he stayed 

His course at Memphis, undecided whether 

He should go back or forward. Here he strayed 
One afternoon along the esplanade 

And high bluff of the river-fronting town, 

To watch the boats and see the sun go down. 

The lyric fit had left him ; but the sight 
Of the strong river sweeping vast and slow, 

Gleaming far off, a flood of crimson light ; 
And, darkly hung between it and the glow 
Of a most lovely sunset sky, the low, 

Interminable forests of Arkansas, 

Might have inspired some very pretty stanzas. 

The esplanade looks down upon the landing, 
A broadly shelving bank, well-trodden and bare, 

Called by a singular misunderstanding 
The levee, while there is no levee there ; 
The famous landing at New Orleans, where 

There is one, having fixed the name forever 

For that and other landings on the river. 



GUY VERNON. 



Acres of merchandise, of cotton-bales, 

And bales of hay, awaiting transportation ; 

Ploughs, household goods, and kegs of rum or nails, 
Endless supplies for village and plantation, 
Enclosed a scene of wondrous animation, 

Of outcry and apparent wild confusion 

Contrasting with the sunset s soft illusion ; 

The steamers lying broadside to the stream, 
With delicately pillared decks, the clang 

Of bells, the uproar of escaping steam ; 

There, tugging at some heavy rope, the gang 
Of slaves that all together swayed and sang, 

Their voices rising in a wild, rich chime, 

To which lithe forms and lithe black arms kept time ; 

The shouts of negro-drivers, droves of mules, 
Driven in their turn by madly yelling blacks ; 

Chairs, tables, kitchen-ware and farming-tools, 
Carts, wagons, barrels, boxes, bales, and sacks, 
Pushed, hauled, rolled, tumbled, tossed, or borne on 
backs 

Of files of men, across the ways of plank 

Between the loading steamers and the bank ! 



280 



GUY VERNON. 



Then as the sunlight faded from the stream, 
And deepening shadows cooled the upper air, 

The waves were lighted by the lurid gleam 
Of flambeaux that began to smoke and flare, 
And cast a picturesque and ruddy glare 

On shore and boats and men of every hue 

Among the rest, a face that Robert knew. 

III. 

He had strolled down upon the bank to note 
The arrival of a steamer and await 

The travellers disembarking from the boat; 

When from the gangway, on through rows of freight, 
In the red glare advanced that face of fate, 

Swart features of the alert and powerful sort, 

Although a dandy s : Saturn s face, in short. 

Lome s heart leaped to his lips, and he was tempted 
To clutch the rascal without more ado, 

A rather risky feat to have attempted, 
For Saturn was the stouter of the two ; 
And always tis a thing that you will rue, 

So to unmask your purpose, unprepared 

To close and finish with the game you Ve scared. 



GUY VERNON. 28 1 



He looked for Vernon : Saturn came alone, 
Bearing a light portmanteau, which he flung 

At a black coachman ; whose white eyeballs shone 
And ivories grinned, as off he marched among 
The less distinguished drivers, open swung 

His carriage door, and dashed it to again, 

Then perched upon his box with whip and rein : 

Saturn inside and Lome on foot without ! 

Here was a crisis : what was to be done ? 
No moment to be wasted in weak doubt : 

Follow he must, but .should he ride or run ? 

There were the drivers : he selected one, 
And straightway mounted with him to his seat : 
Money makes coachmen kind and horses fleet. 

Mid drays and piles of freight their way they find. 
" What street, my friend ? " " Follow that coach ! " 
" All right ! " 

The glare of flambeaux quickly fades behind, 
And through the suburbs, on into the night 
(Keeping the coach they followed well in sight), 

With rattling speed (the ways were dim and rough), 

They bowled along the summit of the bluff. 



282 GUY VERNON. 



The mighty river glimmered far below, 

Soon lost to view; while on the other hand, 

Just breaking from the horizon, looming slow, 
The red moon, burning like a red bright brand, 
Far over misty levels of dim land 

And scattered roofs and gardens shone, and showed 

The forward coach drawn up beside the road. 

IV. 

With columned front and roof of gleaming slate, 
A dim house stood half hid in trees, surrounded 

By a high wall. Before a high close gate, 

Down from his box the dandy s coachman bounded, 
And pulled a bell, whose iron clangor sounded 

Hollow within : then straightway open flew 

The double panels, while the coach drove through ; 

And closed again behind with sullen clank, 
Just as the second coach drove slowly by, 

Shutting their ponderous jaws of bolted plank 
Forbiddingly ; appearing to defy 
Alike marauding force and prying eye. 

Then with the brightening moonlight seemed to fall 

A deep mysterious silence over all. 



GUY VERNON. 283 



Thought Lome, " I Ve tracked the devil to his den ! 
What house is that? " The driver turned to stare, 

(One of your dry, deliberative men, 

With a wise drawl), and answered with an air 

Of cautious candor : " Friend, you have me there ! 

That house has got a sort of secret history, 

Leastwise a curious nickname CASTLE MYSTERY. " 

V. 

" Who owns the place ? " " That s more than I can tell. 

Most of the time nobody but an old, 
Queer cove ties up here ; while the master well, 

Just there comes in the mystery ; I Ve been told 

He practises the art of making gold. 
He spends a powerful heap when he s away ; 
That gone, he comes and makes some more, they say." 

" But that s a foolish fable ! " " Yes, of course ; 
Some sort of counterfeiting game, perhaps ; 

Unnatural stdries have some natural source. 

The old man helps ; he keeps the tools and traps ; - 
Beats all your deep philosophizing chaps ! 

Doctor, he s called : he may be : but the fact is, 

He s all gone up and run to seed in practice. 



284 GUY VERNON. 



" He has a room and shop plumb full of books, 
Vials and things ; and studies day and night, 

And tries experiments, until he looks 

Dazed, like an owl that s brought too near the light : 
Keeps that black coachman, and one servant, white 

And now and then there comes a strutting fellow 

That s neither black nor white, but mongrel yellow. 

* 

" He s in the coach there now or was. Some say 
He owns the place. That s their imagination ; 

And all because he has a pompous way, 
As if he had a mortgage on Creation 
In his breast-pocket. That s my observation. 

I Ve seen him come and go, and then it s queer ! 

Sometimes he won t be round here for a year. 

" Well, no ; I never had the luck to see 

The master, he keeps mighty close, somehow. 

He s the last person you would take to be 
A rogue, by what they tell me. I allow, 
He s at his business in the house there now ; 

He hates it bad enough, but has to do it, 

As if some fate or devil drove him to it." 



GUY VERNON. 285 



Lome sought in vain the root of this uncouth, 
Fabulous story. Error is a vine, 

A parasite upon the tree of Truth, 

About whose modest stem its own malign, 
Luxurious branches sometimes twist and twine, 

Until it seems a hopeless task to single 

The true from false, their boughs so mix and mingle. 

VI. 

Back by the house they drove. An open field 

Adjoined the " Castle " grounds, and bounded all. 

Eager to see what its gray stones concealed, 
Lome rode into the shadow of the wall, 
Rose to his feet, and being somewhat tall 

Looked over, while his heart beat high and fast, 

Into Guy Vernon s strange retreat at last ; 

Nearing the scene of mystery with a thrill. 
There lay the garden, half in shadow bound, 

Half-silvered by the moonlight soft and still, 

Slanting on tree and shrub and cultured ground, 
Where many a path and peaceful alley wound ; 

All perfumed by the breath of early spring. 

The tender bud and first sweet blossoming. 



286 GUY VERNON. 

Before the quiet garden stood the solemn, 
Pale-fronted mansion ; its broad, silent mass 

Projecting from quaint gable and pale column 
A vast and shapeless shadow on the grass : 
One warm, bright light behind tall doors of glass, 

Which opened from a cheerful banquet-room 

On the dark lawn and ray-besprinkled gloom. 

VII. 

There, like the lord and master of the Castle, 
A petty despot, at his meat and wine, 

Alone, sat Saturn ; while an abject vassal 
Stood by to serve his dish and see him dine. 
Lome could even see the rings and trinkets shine, 

As, blazing there in his own solitary 

Magnificence, he ate, and sipped his sherry. 

Soon, having finished his repast, the Varlet 
Wiped his mustache and gave the ends a pull ; 

Then set a smoking-cap of flaming scarlet, 
With gorgeous tassels, on his carded wool ; 
Lit a cigar, and out upon the cool 

Veranda stepped, while from the open door 

His own burlesquing shadow stretched before. 



GUY VERNON. 287 



A base act Robert scorned ; and when he saw 
Saturn face towards 1 him, all at once he thought 

It would be highly proper to withdraw, 
Not just because he dreaded to be caught 
Playing the spy ; but to the ill-doer naught 

Conduces more to virtuous reflection, 

Than a good, startling prospect of detection. 

And yet there was a fearful fascination 
In spying out the stronghold of the foe. 

Had he not come with stern determination 
To track, to watch, to circumvent, to know 
The villain s plots, then strike some sudden blow 

To rescue Vernon, or at least determine 

The cause of his subjection to such vermin ? 

He would have willingly become a pupil 
Of Machiavel himself, but to enhance 

Florinda s happiness ; and should he scruple 
To take advantage now of any chance 
Which served his righteous purpose to advance ? 

It seemed as if the hand of mighty Nemesis 

Had led him thus to the mysterious premises. 



288 GUY VERNON. 



He stooped in shadow, but did not retire : 

Hand grasping wall, and trembling knee the coach, 

He crouched ; when from the Castle rose a dire, 
Deep outcry of entreaty and reproach ; 
And, springing to his feet, he saw approach 

While Saturn turned with cool, sarcastic grin 

Florinda s husband, rushing from within ! 

VIII. 

Guy Vernon, most astonishingly clad : 
In leather apron, bare arms ; on his head 

A paper cap ; in his right hand he had 
A sort of ladle ; features flushed and red, 
As from a furnace whence he just had fled. 

A lean, slight figure followed, with lank face, 

The little owl-eyed Doctor of the place. 

In tones of strong remonstrance and entreaty 
Vernon addressed the Varlet ; who stood by 

Without a flicker of remorse or pity 
In the cold, settled purpose of his eye, 
And waved him back : then with a plaintive cry 

To the freed slave knelt the subjected freeman, 

The sad, fallen man to the exalted demon ! 



GUY VERNON. 289 



For so it seemed to Lome : which when he saw, 
His fury he no longer could restrain. 

Reckless of danger, dignity, or law, 

Or how the outer world he should regain, 
From coach to high wall-top he leaped amain, 

Dropped down within, a sheer ten-foot descent, 

And through the shaded shrubbery crashing went 

To lawn, veranda, and wide-open casement ; 
And stood, one fiery pulse from head to foot, 

Before the Varlet turning with amazement, 
Guy Vernon staggering back irresolute, 
And the lean Doctor blinking pale and mute ; 

While his astonished coachman, at the wall, 

Peered over in blank wonder at it all. 

Lome eagerly reached forth his hand for Guy s : 
" Vernon ! my friend ! " But Saturn, all serene, 

Having recovered from his first surprise, 

With a polite " Excuse me ! " stepped between : 
"I do not know you, sir ! " with courteous mien 

Barring the way. " My Master is engaged." 

Whereat Lome opened on him, all enraged. 



2QO GUY VERNON. 



" I know you, Alexander, Dandy Sam 

Saturn or Satan, what s your name ? no matter ! " 

The Varlet made his wonderful salaam, 

And quirked his eyebrows with a leer : " You flatter ! " 
Preventing still Lome s progress ; while the latter 

Called vainly after Guy, who shrank away 

In sad confusion, charging him to stay. 

" I ve come for you I will not go without you ! 
Think of Florinda ! all shall yet be well ! 

What is this net which they have woven about you ? 
Where is your manhood ? Break this hideous spell ! " 
And Lome, regardless of a spring and yell 

From Saturn, made a dash, the table cleared 

Too late ! already Guy had disappeared. 

With him, the Doctor ; and behind them both 
The obsequious servant had secured the door. 

Lome turned on Saturn ; with a thrilling oath, 

And look more threatening than his speech, he swore 
Not to depart from out that house before 

He had conferred with Vernon. " Then I fear 

You will stay late ! " said Saturn with a leer. 



GUY VERNON. 291 



"You cannot turn me out I will not stir ! 
I am commissioned by his injured wife ; 

And I will take her husband back to her, 
Or make you a frank present of my life ! " 
And, all unarmed, Lome looked full-armed for strife. 

There was a moment s awkward silence ; then 

The lordly Saturn was himself again. 

X. 

He turned magnificently to his henchman, 
Who seemed, in vulgar terms, a sort of cook 

And general waiting-man ; a stocky Frenchman, 
Servile, alert, intelligent ; who took 
His orders from a signal or a look, 

And vanished. Saturn blandly smiled. " You re right ! 

You shall be satisfied this very night ! 

" Be seated ! " with elaborate politeness. 
"You shall be welcome as the lady s friend. 

I m sorry that she questions my uprightness : 
You share her prejudice, I apprehend ! 
Here s some refreshment I can recommend." 

The nimble Frenchman placed upon the table 

A bottle with an interesting label ; 



2Q2 GUY VERNON. 



And poured a glass, which Lome declined. " No harm, 
sir ! " 

Said Saturn with a smile. " I know my place ; 
So there is no occasion for alarm, sir ; 

I am too well aware of the disgrace 

For gentlemen of your superior race 
To drink and fellowship with one of mine. 
But there s no taint of color in the wine ! " 

XI. 

Which sarcasm made Lome wince. He was a man 

Who hated from his heart all tyranny 
Of artificial caste and social ban ; 

In broad, imaginative sympathy 

A poet ; for, however they may be 
Wanting in social manners and urbanity, 
Poets are all for freedom and humanity. 

" That you have been a servant, or in slavery, 
Or have a colored skin," he cried, " who cares ? 

Not I ! But I have small respect for knavery, 
Foppish magnificence and insolent airs ! " 
At which plain English Saturn grins and glares. 

" You re frank ! But tis just possible that you 

May not see all things, from your point of view. 



GUY VERNON. 293 



"What you have called my knavery, in your haste 
Of that there s something more for you to know. 

Then please set down to differences of taste, 
And my unhappy race s love of show, 
Much of the foppery that disgusts you so ; 

And it may be the insolence you ve noticed 

Is just a proud but ignorant person s protest 

" Against injustice which would keep him under, 
Too violent a rebound of self-respect. 

That I am what I am, is no great wonder : 
No fine advantages, please recollect, 
Of birth and education." Which direct 

And simple speech took Robert by surprise, 

And brought a curious twinkle to his eyes. 

"That Mr. Vernon s lady deemed that I 
Was his bad genius, I was well aware. 

But it was not convenient to deny 

What none the less was somewhat hard to bear. 
No doubt I ve acted strangely in the affair ; 

But I have been no more the evil cause, 

Than whirlwinds are produced by whirling straws. 



294 GUY VERNON. 



" And neither is my master a great villain : 
Our weak point lies in his too strict veracity. 

With something to conceal, he was not willing 
To use a little innocent mendacity, 
Of which I have perhaps a small capacity ; 

Enough to have invented some slight fiction, 

Which would have saved his lady much affliction. 

" Don t think my influence over him lies solely 
In his great fear to have his trouble known. 

For thirty years, sir, he has trusted wholly 
To my fidelity : I am proud to own, 
That in our boyhood, before he had grown 

Familiar with misfortune and disaster, 

I was his servant, he my little master. 

" Then when affliction came, our ties were closer. 

I shared his fortunes ; sleeping or awake, 
I was his chosen attendant. You must know, sir, 

The ancient family honor was at stake. 

There was no sacrifice they would not make 
Honest device they would not try to hide 
The stain upon the old Virginia pride. 



GUY VERNON. 295 



" With Master Guy himself the constant dread 

Of an exposure had become a steady 
Motive and habit, when at last it led 

To the deception practised on his lady. 

We hoped, and he believed that he already 
Had passed the crisis, that his chains were broken." 
Lome started wonderingly, and would have spoken. 

Saturn proceeded : " Since you Ve found us here, 
And got some partial facts in your possession, 

And are the lady s agent, and appear 

A gentleman of sense and good discretion, 
I shall go on and make a frank confession 

Of the main circumstance which you have guessed ? 

Then we shall make short business with the rest. 

" This place was fitted for his occupation, 

At my suggestion, and with his consent. 
Then, when he felt the first faint intimation, 

The coming of the terrible event, 

To keep his secret he was well content 
To fly with me, and in this shelter wait 
Until the storm was over. But of late, 



296 GUY VERNON. 



" Love for his lady, fear to do her wrong, 

And hope that still the shadow might pass by, 

Has caused my master to delay too long. 
But, though I was not pleasing to her eye, 
Which had to be avoided, I was nigh, 

And watched him close, and when all hope was past, 

Of his improvement, brought him off at last. 

%< Our Doctor was the family physician ; 

Under his charge my master first was placed. 
Then he was offered here, in this position, 

Advantages he readily embraced ; 

Where undisturbed he can indulge his taste 
For chemistry, until some fresh attack 
Of the disorder brings his patient back. 

" Tis now twelve years since my old master died, 
And left him and his fortune to my care. 

The mother went before. We have three tried 
And faithful servants, who would neither dare 
To tell his secret, nor to hurt a hair 

Of that dear head ! " Here, winking hard, the dandy, 

With a fierce gulp, tossed off a glass of brandy. 



GUY VERNON. 297 



" I showed some rudeness, which you 11 please excuse. 
An ignorant man is liable to err. 

Now shall you care to see him ? As you choose. 
In any case, I do not fancy, sir, 
That you will wish to take him back to her ! 

The thing has gone so far, though, I suppose 

It will perhaps be better if she knows. 

" Sometimes for several years he is exempt ; 
Then the old indications : first, a strange 

Irritability ; then perhaps the attempt 

To hide even from himself the coming change 
In a forced gayety; then the symptoms range 

From moody melancholy and fitful sadness 

To deep despondency and downright madness ! 

** Quite harmless ; often fancies he is poor, 
But that he has the art of making gold. 

Indulgence is the surest way to cure 

His whims ; and tis a comfort to behold 
Even a poor madman flattered and consoled. 

But when he knelt to-night and begged for snow 

To make some silver, I had none to show." 



298 GUY VERNON. 



XII. 

So Saturn told his story ; and tis time 

Mine, too, were ended, which so far has strayed, 

Winding along the indented shores of rhyme, 
In many an idle pool and eddy played. 
Lome did not keep the promise he had made, 

But all alone, and sorrowful, and late, 

That night, took his departure by the gate. 

To know the worst is better than long doubt, 
The slow, consuming fever of suspense. 

Therefore, when Lome had traced the mystery out, 
And to Florinda bore the news, a sense 
Of soothing respite followed long, intense 

Horror and dread, and speedily allayed 

The anguish of the wound the sharp truth made. 

That some remorse for her unjust suspicion 
Of Saturn stung her, cannot be denied. 

Then came a message sent by Guy s physician ; 
And questions rose of- duty, love, and pride, 
Which Robert nobly helped her to decide ; 

And soon she made a journey, by her presence 

To cheer Guy Vernon in his convalescence. 



GUY VERNON. 299 



The wise, who would expel a spectral thing 
That haunts the chambers of the lonely mind, 

Invite sweet sound and sight of birds that sing, 

And flowers and winds and heavenly beams, to find 
Freely their way through wide-flung door and blind, 

And pure affections, an angelic host, 

To fill the rooms and drive away the ghost. 

The truth was known ; and terror of discovery 
Swayed Vernon s soul no more as in the past ; 

And for his mind a more complete recovery 
And perfect cure seemed possible at last. 
The cloudy future now was clearing fast, 

And would have brought in brighter days, no doubt, 

When our unlucky civil war broke out. 

There, where the treasure is, the heart will be : 
Guy Vernon s bride was northern ; his estates 

And many slaves were in the South ; and he, 
Having in vain withstood the fiery fates 
That strove to rend the covenant of States, 

Went with his own, and helped to fight their battles, 

To save his cotton, cane, and human chattels. 



300 GUY VERNON. 



His lands were overrun, his slaves were freed, 
The cause was lost he struggled to defend, 

And poor Florinda wore a widow s weed ! 

And now no doubt you think the lover friend 
Steps in to give our tale a happy end. 

But truth is truth ; and when the news was carried 

To Lome at last, he had been three years married. 

XIII. 

Not his the queen of wit, or star of beauty, 
Dazzling beholders, but a pearl more precious, 

Set in the sacred ring of daily duty ; 

Not vast domain, but something far more spacious ; 
Nor great renown ; yet Fortune has been gracious, 

And to requite his simple faith has sent 

The all-enclosing freehold of Content. 

Smiles of affection keep his fireside bright, 
Around his heart light-footed cherubs dance : 

Love and the Muse make labor a delight, 
The spirit blithe, and sweet the countenance. 
Books he has printed, essay, song, romance ; 

And now the latest venture of them all 

He publishes a novel in the fall. 



GUY VERNON. 301 



O critic of his little book ! I hope 

You will not prove of that pedantic class 

Who view defects as through a telescope 
But when they see a modest merit pass, 
Smile, shrug, look doubtful, and reverse the glass, 

Then swear the object is so very small 

As scarcely to be visible at all. 

And take this counsel kindly as I mean it : 
In your reviews, don t hasten to disclose 

The story s plot, before the world has seen it, 
Pulling to pieces one s poor little rose ! 
^But let its readers ere the volume goes 

To the oblivion of their upper shelves 

Pluck out its little mystery for themselves. 



TT AIN is the mask ! Who cannot, at desire, 

Name every singer in the hidden choir ? 
A thin disguise is that which veils with care 
The face, but lets the changeless heart lie bare ! 






L ENVOI. 

Our revels now are ended." 

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DEIRDRE. 

" Deirdrk is a remarkable poem, written in ten-syllable lines, with almost 
perfect ease of versification. . . . The author has an enthusiastic and delicate 
love of nature in all her moods. His batrle scenes are all ?tt in glowing land 
scapes ; he sings the glories of the earth and of the skies, as well as the 
achievements of his heroes ; he makes you fee! the weather and the landscape, 
the sharpness of late autumn, the life and sweetness of spring. The fault of 
the poem is an excess of its beauties (?)." Boston Daily Advertiser. 

" Such is the story of Deirdre ; a story of extraordinary power and pathos, 
and one which, though dealing with remote times and barbarous characters, 
awakens a strong sympathy in the breast of the reader. Some of the passages 
of the poem are absolutely Homeric, particularly the descriptions of the battles ; 
while there are here and there subtle touches of nature, all the more potent 
because of their savage setting. Altogether it is the poem of this day and 
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England or America." Boston Transcript. 

" One s first thought on reading the last line of this poem is of its absolute 
integrity of excellence. Not a faulty line mars its expansive beauty ; not a 
commonplace sentiment degrades it. ... We have never read a poem whose 
perfection is so steadfastly sustained ; from the first line to the last there, is no 
descent from the original nobility of thought and style. ... Its atmosphere 
is strangely high and healthful. Honor rules almost every act in the eventful 
drama. . . . The most exigent sense of duty seems to animate eveiy person in 
the poem ; and the episode of their deaths illustrates the noblest qualities of 
human nature. . . . Over the whole sky of his poem there broods an atmos 
phere of the most exquisite refinement. . . . But words cannot do justice to 
the grandeur and beauty of Deirdre; it is the poem of the century." 
Literary World. 

" Thus Deirdre comes forth a grand epic, a poem of which America can 
be proud as the country from which it issues, and all other reading lands glad 
and satisfied. There is in it the grandeur and magnificence of the Greek of the 
Iliad and Odyssey, the beauty and grace, the rich imagery of the ^Eneid, and 
the rythmic flow of Dante s writings. The power of the poen* is not spasmo 
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" The reader easily discovers that it is a poem of very rare quality, a great 
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KISMET. A Nile Novel 



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"Well, I have read Kismet, and it is certainly very remarkable. The 
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" * Kismet is indeed a delightful story, the best of the series undoubtedly." 

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" I liked it extremely. It ia the best in the series so far, except in con 
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1 Kismet is winning golden opinions everywhere. I have nothing but praises 
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" I have read Kismet once, and mean to read it again. It is thoroughly 
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